Joan Mir is to move up to MotoGP next year, and will be racing in the factory ECSTAR Suzuki team, for at least the next two seasons.
The signing had been widely expected, as the name of Mir had been linked to Suzuki for the past month or so.
The Spanish youngster is highly rated throughout the MotoGP paddock, and been pursued by Honda and Ducati, as well as Suzuki, according to his manager.
Mir has been chosen over both current rider Andrea Iannone and veterans Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo had been linked to the ride since early this year, but in the end, Suzuki bosses back in Hamamatsu, Japan preferred to go with youthful potential over an established star.
Alex Rins, who will be starting his third season in MotoGP, is regarded as experienced enough to lead the development of the MotoGP project at the start of next season.
The signing of Mir puts Suzuki in a similar position to the one they found themselves in with Maverick Viñales. Viñales was then the hot young rider pursued by one and all, who impressed enough people at Suzuki to be snatched away by Yamaha once a seat there became available.
There are unsubstantiated reports that Suzuki have put a mechanism in place to protect themselves against a similar situation developing with Mir, should he meet with the same kind of success Viñales did. In effect, Mir’s deal with Suzuki could end up being closer to four years than two.
With Mir filling the second Suzuki seat, all of the factory seats in MotoGP are now taken. Attention will now turn to the Petronas SIC Yamaha project, and how quickly (or whether) that gets off the ground.
“As a Team we have always tried to look forward to long term development plans, which includes also making some bets on young riders that we feel can be an investment for the future,” said Shinichi Sahara, Suzuki’s MotoGP project leader.
“We did it in our debut year in 2015, we did it again in 2017 when we signed the debutant Alex Rins, who has been confirmed also this year, and we are further confirming this with the agreement with Joan Mir.”
“He is a young talent we would like to see grow and help us to grow the GSX-RR and the team with him. He is now involved in the Moto2 class and we definitely want him to enjoy the championship, but we are also eager to start working with him and see him debut in the top class. We believe in his skills.”
Source: Suzuki Racing
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.