At 25-years-old — he will turn 26 on September 1 — Joan Mir has as a track record that many riders throughout the history of the World Championship would have wished for. Double World Champion in Moto3 (2017) and MotoGP (2020), his trajectory in the Grand Prix has been marked by the brilliance of his results. And now, with his incorporation to the Repsol Honda Team, he is facing one of the biggest tasks of his career, and Mir’s career has been marked by continuous challenges.
Mir is part of a growing generation of riders from Mallorca who have filled the Balearic Islands with titles, following in the footsteps of Jorge Lorenzo, because after the successes of him and Mir, Izan Guevara and Augusto Fernández, also from the islands, they also have added nine victories for this Autonomous Community.
The beginnings of Joan Mir’s sporting career
Before opting for two wheels, Mir hesitated: A minibike or skateboard? His father had a skateboard store and it was a logical option, but the attraction of two wheels was greater. Joan’s beginnings in the world of motorcycling are to be found in the training categories. At 10-years-old, he started to compete in minibikes, in the Escuela Lorenzo, and competed in the Inter-school League, supermoto championships, and Cuna de Campeones, completing all the steps necessary before going on to the big circuits. At the end of 2012, after recently turning 15, he was selected for the Rookies Cup, the championship for the promotion of young talent, which is part of the European Grand Prix program.
Joan stayed two seasons in the Rookies, fighting in the second with Jorge Martín for the title, but he had to settle for runner-up after winning three races. It was a year of emotions, a difficult season marked by his enormous projection and his talent, but that wasn’t rewarded with an offer to complete the next stage of his learning: the leap to the World Championship, something that some of his grid colleagues did achieve. There weren’t many alternatives, but Joan never gave up.
He showed signs of his quality and capacity to adapt. He took part in the Copa de España Open 600 test and won, at just 16-years-old, on a bike that almost tripled the power of the Rookies’ KTM. And while he explored several options for the future, even considering the end of his career due to the lack of alternatives, the opportunity arose to debut in the Moto3 Junior World Championship of FIM CEV Repsol.
And it couldn’t have been a more stunning debut: a resounding win in Portimao that all of a sudden made him the top contender for the title. In fact, that 2015 season he was the rider with the most wins, but unfortunately, a series of breakdowns and a crash left blank spaces in his points tally, and that weighed heavily on his final ranking, finishing fourth.
He also had some joy: he debuted in the World Championship in Philip Island (Australia), replacing the injured Hiroki Ono. He left an excellent impression, although he couldn’t finish the race due to a crash with another competitor’s motorcycle.
World Championship rider: a race to MotoGP
His good work this time did allow him to take the leap to the Moto3 World Championship in 2016, teaming up with Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Locatelli. He was the rookie of the group, but he ended up being the best of the three. In Austria, he achieved his first pole position and his first win, and he still had the chance to add several more podium finishes throughout the season, achieving fifth place in the final ranking in the World Championship and the“Rookie of the Year” trophy.
With that backing and extraordinary confidence, Joan had high hopes for the 2017 season. The truth is, he didn’t give anyone else much of a chance: he won 10 of the 18 races on the calendar, and added thirteen podium finishes. His superiority was absolute and no one could dispute the title, since he led the World Championship ranking from start to finish, 93 points ahead of second place, which allowed him to be crowned Moto3 World Champion with two races remaining, and breaking the maximum points record of the category.
The next step was Moto2. It was a tough year, of learning, in the always-thankless intermediate category of the World Championship, a class that can lift you or sink you, but Joan knew how to stay afloat. Although he didn’t win any Grand Prix, he managed to achieve four podium finishes and sixth in the final ranking, which wasn’t a bad result for a debutant. In fact, he won the “Rookie of the Year” trophy again.
Joan’s natural ambition, typical of all great champions, meant that he wasn’t very satisfied with his results, but his talent and good work didn’t go unnoticed by Suzuki, which was on the lookout for young talent for its MotoGP team, and that is how Joan Mir became a MotoGP rider in 2019, at just 21-years-old.
His arrival in the top category was not without complications, because the challenge of facing a MotoGP bike wasn’t easy, but little by little, he managed to get into the rhythm of the category. Unfortunately, a serious accident suffered in Brno kept him out of action for several races, although on his return he continued his upward trajectory, finishing twelfth in his debut in the category.
In the 2020 season, marked by the pandemic, Mir showed his enormous capacity. In a complex and unusually short year, only thirteen races, Joan was constant and steady. He added his first win in MotoGP in the European Grand Prix, held in Cheste, which allowed him to be crowned MotoGP World Champion a week later on the same track, with one race remaining. His certainty led him to adding seven podium finishes in thirteen races, and in the face of this resilience, his rivals were unable to respond.
In 2021, Joan Mir again fought for the crown and was one of the contenders until the end. He once again demonstrated his consistency, adding six podium finishes that season to finish third in the championship, completing a very respectable title defense.
He started last season with his usual determination, being consistent in the leading pack. But after the Spanish Grand Prix, his team announced its withdrawal at the end of the campaign. It was a real hammer blow for the whole team, who despite this, continued the rest of the season with the utmost professionalism. Things weren’t easy for Joan, who linked bad results and crashes, and to top it all off, he suffered a serious accident in Austria where he seriously injured his ankle. He didn’t compete for four races, and returned for the final three races of the season, although he was able to end the year with a promising sixth position.
By then, Joan Mir’s future with the Repsol Honda Team was already confirmed, a new challenge for his career, a new challenge that he, with the brand’s colors, has already begun in the usual MotoGP tests in Sepang.