Episode Four, Season Two of ‘Behind the Dream’ follows Joan Mir through his turbulent start to life as a Repsol Honda Team rider and looks back on how his love of competition and battling took him from skateboards and vert ramps to motorcycles and World Championships.
There are almost two versions of Joan Mir. There is the MotoGP racer who roars down a straight in excess of 350km/h, grabbing the brakes as late as he dares and there is the private, introspective, Joan Mir who enjoys the sea and memories of home. “I’m not very complicated. I would describe myself as a person quite introverted, passionate about his work, a very familiar person. I love the sea, everything that involves diving, snorkelling, fishing, sailing. It reminds me a lot of the island,” opens the 26-year-old double World Champion from Palma de Mallorca.
When he is away from the track, Mir prefers to disconnect, “I like to spend time with my family thinking about other things that are not motorcycles. If I think about motorcycles, I’m thinking about motorcycles 100% and if I don’t think about motorcycles, I don’t even want people to talk to me about motorcycles.”
Joan Mir is the 19th rider to compete for the Repsol Honda Team in their almost 30-year history. The red, white and orange colours have become synonymous with great champions and success since the mid-90s, but the most successful team in Grand Prix racing has hit a rough patch recently. Mir, the 2020 MotoGP World Champion, knew the challenge he faced when arrived. “As a rider, to wear these colours is unbelievable,” he said just before the Sepang test at the start of the season. “If you think about the history behind these colours, it’s crazy and it means winning. It’s always a pleasure and a pressure. I can imagine that the first races will always be tough. But I know what I am capable of.”
Unlike many MotoGP riders, Mir was not born immediately onto minibikes, instead much of his early life was spent on a skate ramp. “My father has always liked them [motorcycles]. He has a skate shop. When I was a kid, everyone was asking me for T-shirts, for stickers, for everything! And I remember that I had a ramp at home, so this was a dream for all my friends. The passion comes from within, I was the one who asked for a motorcycle when I was little.”
It was a passion shared by his father, a man who knew exactly what being a professional rider would entail. “You don’t risk your life to be cool, you risk your life because you want to be a rider,” he mused in his skate shop in Mallorca. “I didn’t want that this was a game, I wanted this to be his profession, I was very serious.” The experiences of Mir’s childhood would bring him maturity beyond on years as he raced throught the ranks from local races in Mallorca to CEV and onwards to the World Championship.
The going has been unfortunately tough for Mir with crashes and a mid-season injury complicating his adaption to the Repsol Honda Team RC213V. “I come to a team with an incredible history in a difficult time. It’s such a complicated moment in my career, I have not had it in my life,” reflected the #36 after half a year aboard the Honda. But the support from his father persists unabated, “I am convinced that he will overcome it, of course! We have overcome other things. I think whatever it is, it’s going to go well because he is a great fighter.” Mir’s fighting spirit has brought out flashes of his true pace and potential, battling with his teammate in races and showing the speed to fight for the podium in Japan and India.
The full episode is available on the Honda Racing Corporation YouTube page, along with all previous seasons and episodes of Behind the Dream.