Joan Mir had finished pre-season testing for his rookie 2019 MotoGP campaign with the twelfth fastest lap time, 0.789s from the top and 0.404s behind team-mate Alex Rins.

Fast forward a year and the young Spaniard was just 0.271s from the front, in sixth overall and a 'mere' 0.061s from Rins.

Race simulations had been equally impressive and Mir looked set to threaten his rookie season best of fifth place in the opening Qatar race.

That event never happened, due to the coronavirus, and it looks like it'll be mid-July by the time MotoGP finally returns to action at Jerez.

But Mir has given an insight into the way he has changed his riding style during the winter, most notably toning down his level of aggression.

"In the pre-season I was improving a lot," said the former Moto3 world champion, now confirmed at Suzuki until at least the end of 2022.

"One of the weak points that I had was that my style was too aggressive. I wanted to do a lot more than I needed to and at the end this is time that you lose.

"For sure it's something that I needed to correct and this pre-season I improved a lot in that area. I was much smoother."

However, the 22-year-old emphasised that it's not simply a case of trying to be smoother in every area and there are times when you have to be rough on the bike.

"In the points where you have to be strong and aggressive, I've kept this aggression," he said. "This is important.

"For example, on the brakes, you need to brake really hard. If you brake smooth the lap times are not coming.

"I think that with these [MotoGP] bikes you need one year to learn a bit these things, because it looks like the bike is smooth and all of this, but the truth is that it's not really like that."

The GSX-RR has been tipped as perhaps the most impressive all-round package during winter testing, with Mir confirming he and Rins have been steering development in the 'same direction'.

"Between Alex and my bike, both of us follow always the same direction. This is a really good thing," he said.

 

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