Joan Mir, from skates to MotoGP world champion

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He had earned the right to win the MotoGP title regardless of what anyone else did. Just by getting on the podium, which he had achieved seven times in this course, Joan Mir would embrace his first title in the top flight. But he had sown many other options to get to the same point. A victory throughout the year was enough for him and he didn’t even need a podium at the Valencia Grand Prix to succeed Marc Márquez in the MotoGP record. Franco Morbidelli won, with Jack Miller second and Pol Espargaró, third. But for Mir, faithful to his patience, it was enough to overcome five places from his twelfth position on the grid to leave the World Championship sentenced in the penultimate race. In a World with many disappointmentsFabio Quartararo even made it easier for him, with a crash in the first laps. Joan Mir, MotoGP world champion.

In this atypical year, an atypical champion. One who was not born with a motorcycle under his arm but He discovered speed wearing skates. The family store offered him a world of speed and balance that he was already forming, unknowingly and just for fun, a natural two-wheeler. When he discovered that a cousin of his father, Joan Perelló, was competing in 125cc races, he got off the skateboard and began the dream of motorcycles, with the prior authorization of his parents, completely oblivious to this world. A plan A with no back door and not even that straightforward tradition that tends to be common among your grill colleagues. A plan A that was many times on the verge of collapsing because, in this sport, in this life, not all bets are based on talent, there is also a lot of opportunity.

The pilot started circling the circuits when he was 10 years old. And he went through all the steps as fast as he was riding a motorcycle. He spent a year at the Chicho Lorenzo school, but the parents were not convinced by the methods. With the Balearic Motorcycling Federation he went to the Cradle of Champions, where there were already prestigious and projected triumphs. But, I said, not everything is talent. After the congratulations and the promises of the future, Mir the doors of the World Cup were closed in 2015. No team was willing to bet on this promising driver, runner-up in the Red Bull Rookie Cup without more support than the illusion and what the closest relatives could gather. His representative, lawyer Paco Sánchez, and a good connoisseur of the MotoGP family, saw his potential clearly. He bought him a seat in one of the teams with fewer resources in the Spanish Moto3 Speed ​​Championship. But Mir did not disappoint and paid off the trust with good results. Fourth with a motorcycle that competed with big brands like Monlau -Emilio Alzamora’s school- or Ajo. Also with maturity, because while for others the regulations must be forced to register precocity records, the Mallorcan had already reached the age of majority when he entered, calling with speed but without noise, in the World Cup. But from there, he was knocking down bigger and bigger doors: contract in Leopard Racing for 2016 – victory in the Austrian Grand Prix – and 2017 – world title -; another with the Marc VDS Estrella Galicia for his presence in Moto2 in 2018, and halfway through that season, the jump to stars with Suzuki. With 21 years.

While some thought the jump was too risky, too early, perhaps deadly, Mir made his way. “He is young and those rumors that he was going too fast did not affect him. He was clear that he wanted to get to MotoGP. He had everything oriented to be world champion. His arrival was late, but perhaps that is why he burned stages faster. He’s also tall (1.80) and I couldn’t wait long for a bigger bike. Being a Moto2 champion also does not condition anything. It does not give a bonus either when you win or when you do not win. There is no rule. And there are many other examples: Messi or Ansu Fati, should they stay in youth? You have to know how to manage it, yes, but if you leave them in what they say is their category, maybe they will get lost along the way, ”Sánchez explains to this newspaper.

His victory in 2020, the most regular on the grid, has proved him right. Meteoric progression to the stars. MotoGP world champion. With 23 years. Only five years after entering the World Cup. One less than what it cost them to bite the title to Marc Márquez or Valentino Rossi.

It did not come out of nowhere. Aggressive and conscientious, calculating, talented, determined and orderly. “When the driver picks up Joan’s motorhome, he always says it is cleaner than when he left it,” says Sánchez.

So also in the Suzuki garage, where he has a great relationship with Davide Brivio and another cordial and respectful relationship with his partner Álex Rins. But above all there is very clear ideas and many hours
of work. «He is always training, and training and training – with other pilots like Tito Rabat-. On two wheels: bike, or any type of motorcycle, of all modalities, with the same intensity with which it competes. He has a great capacity for work, ”says Sánchez. In fact, his apparent calm is only disturbed by lateness if he has stayed an hour to work. “It is not easy to get him out of his boxes, unless he sees that you are not a professional.”

Very home

Calm comes from character. That Mallorcan character that makes him introvert, little friend of social networks, very familiar and very home. As soon as he can, he travels to Palma to see his father, Juan, who is still running the RollandRoll skate shop, with a few nods to 36 (pilot’s number) in the window, and his mother, Ana Mayrata, and his brothers Mauro and Fiona. «The family has continued their normal life, they have not left their jobs like other pilots. They have the relationship of following their son, but leaving space for him to be the protagonist, of course. It’s as if Joan were a firefighter, ”says Sánchez.

You are learning to manage success with the press and fans. He prefers to spend his days at home, with his girlfriend Alejandra, a Mallorcan like him, and their three dogs. With walks through nature, surrounded by nature in Andorra. With that, series and video games he is happy. In fact, for Mir the sacrifice is going to a party. “Of course, two days a year he celebrates a party with his friends and there he allows everything,” confesses his representative.

His confessed weakness is sea, sail, rent a boat and lose a week a year in the Mediterranean. And although he does not follow a strict diet, he likes to eat well. In fact, they classify it as “very gourmet”: “he likes good fish, shellfish, Iberian ham …”.

In his daily menu, for breakfast, toast with ham, avocado, cheese, egg … In the circuits this year, with restrictions, sandwich and milk with cereals.

Mir is also atypical in his relationship with the world. He has had his childhood, his studies and not his entire planet is motorcycling. While many of his classmates live in their bubbles because they have known little else, Mir has had a normal life, going out with his friends on Fridays after school to the skate parks. Straight to be crazy. I had a blast, but a pipe, ”confessed the pilot himself this week to this newspaper. Hence, he is not oblivious to his surroundings. «He is one of the few young people who watches the news, he is always up to date and he comments and asks you. That has made him assume that he is privileged, ”confesses Sánchez. He was affected by what he heard about the pandemic, and restricted the news. Hence his words days before the European Grand Prix, in which he achieved his first victory: “Those who have pressure are those who have to pay the rent and bring food home.” The boy from Mallorca, natural and simple, is a MotoGP world champion. His name has always been in the history of this sport: Joan Mir.

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