The 2020 world champion switched to the factory Honda squad for this season after Suzuki quit the series at the end of last year.
Mir is the fifth different rider in six years to partner Marc Marquez at Honda, following Dani Pedrosa in 2018, Lorenzo in 2019, Alex Marquez in 2020 and Espargaro in 2021/2022.
Pedrosa’s final year was his first winless one in MotoGP, while Lorenzo’s MotoGP career was effectively ended by the woes he suffered at Honda. Alex Marquez has since departed to Gresini Ducati having struggled at LCR Honda over the last two years.
Mir’s season has been a shocker so far having scored just five points from the first five rounds in a generally tough year for Honda – albeit one in which Alex Rins did win the Americas GP for LCR.
Following a double crash at the French GP, Mir admits he is “scared” of suffering the same fate as Lorenzo and Espargaro at Honda given the difficulties he currently faces.
“For sure I’m scared, for sure, because I want to win,” he said. “It’s very difficult for a rider like me to see myself in the position that I am.
“My motivation is to win races, to make podiums, be in the top group, this is what gives me the fuel for it. It’s a long time that I don’t have this fuel.”
Honda introduced its Kalex-designed chassis at the French GP for Marc Marquez and Mir to race, with the former noting that the new frame was a definite improvement even if more areas of the bike still needed to be fixed.
Marquez was able to qualify second and fight for the podium in both races at Le Mans, but Mir admits both he and Honda “doesn’t understand what I need to be strong”.
“What I want to do, I can’t do it,” he explained. “I think at the moment the team doesn’t understand what I need to be strong.
“Also, I don’t understand what I have to do to ride this bike in a better way and to perform, because I try to ride in a different way, to make a different style.
“But it’s not my natural style at the moment, we are not in the position we want to carry speed into the corner, open [the throttle] a bit earlier.
“Every time I’m wide, I open the line. At the moment, we are struggling. That’s a fact.”
Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Marc Fleury
Mir added that he can be quick in FP1 sessions, but already reaches the limit of the bike. However, he believes the 2023 Honda can be adjusted to him.
“I believe that we can adjust this one,” said Mir. “If you understand a little bit the situation, you see that we arrived here [to Le Mans], we put out a bike in FP1, then I was not able to improve the lap time of FP1.
“So, I know how to ride because straight away I’m there. But if I try to be stronger, everything becomes more complicated.
“It’s not that I forget about riding, it’s just they have to understand what I need to explore the type of riding I’m used to.
“Of course, as a rider you can change some things but you can’t change everything.
“So, we have to find this compromise with the team, with what I need. Now, we are riding a different bike and we were not able to make it work in this ride.”