A MotoGP world champion in only his second season in the premier-class and fifth year of grand prix competition, means Suzuki are sure the best of Joan Mir is still to come.

The Spaniard, 23, began last season no higher than fifth during an injury-interrupted rookie campaign, then failed to finish two of the opening three races.

But the pieces fell into place with a debut podium in Austria. A string of further rostrums carried him into the title lead six rounds later and, after taking his first MotoGP win at the opening Valencia round, Mir wrapped up Suzuki's first world championship since 2000 the following weekend.

“Yes, of course," said Suzuki project leader Shinichi Sahara, when asked if the best of Mir is still to be shown.

"He is still young and he is about to start only his third season with us, so there’s still a big margin to know the bike, the team, and to improve.

"I guess after winning the championship he has also gained maturity and he knows how to deal with pressure.”

The big question is how the strengthening Mir-Suzuki combination will compare against a return by six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez and Honda, the dominant force in MotoGP since 2013.

Marquez missed all of last season due to complications with his broken right arm and still looks in doubt for 2021 pre-season testing...

Also injured at the 2020 Jerez season-opener was Mir's team-mate Alex Rins.

The Spaniard had been a double race winner the previous year and remained the top GSX-RR in all three pre-season tests, but a dislocated and fractured shoulder hampered his title hopes.

Nonetheless, Rins was the first Suzuki rider to win a race last season, at Aragon, as he rose to third in the final classification.

"We will see how Rins becomes stronger as well, battling with his team-mate," Sahara said. "Last year, unfortunately, he was in great shape and then he got injured - so this conditioned his performance a lot throughout the season.”

 

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