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Joan Mir’s Tough Ride in Catalunya: Honda’s New Engine Configuration Fails to Impress

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Joan Mir discloses that Repsol Honda opted for an alternate engine setup in Catalunya, yet describes Sunday's race as 'a nightmare'.

Honda and Yamaha have remained tight-lipped about adopting updated engine specifications this season, now permitted due to their updated concession status in MotoGP.

The weekend in Catalunya started with Fabio Quartararo from Monster Yamaha acknowledging that a slightly altered version of the M1 was used in Jerez, and concluded with Joan Mir from Repsol Honda disclosing the use of a "distinct engine setup" in Barcelona.

Regrettably for Mir and Honda, they had to take “a step backward now in order to advance further ahead.”

"Truly a disaster," was how Mir described his performance, having crossed the finish line in 15th position, a whole 33 seconds after victor Francesco Bagnaia from Ducati, and just slightly trailing the leading RC213V ridden by LCR's Takaaki Nakagami.

"I anticipated facing difficulties in this race. We have switched to an alternative engine setup, and it doesn't sit well with me.

The rotation intensity likely falls short compared to the usual benchmark. Additionally, the maximum velocity significantly decreases.

"In the previous competitions, I found myself much nearer to the lead, engaging closely with those vying for positions within the top ten. However, in this case, I had no chance to compete at that level."

"We likely took a step backward now in hopes of advancing further in the future. However, currently, it's challenging and the circumstances are as they are… Actually, it's even more difficult than that."

However, the ex-world champion did acknowledge that "the gap has widened" with the introduction of the new engine setup, having faced challenges with steering and grip throughout the current season.

"In my opinion, it's the correct decision, however, [this low grip circuit] presents the most challenging conditions. Truthfully, you're experiencing spin for nearly the entire lap."

"No matter what type of tire we mount on the back, it ends up spinning. That's essentially the situation we're facing right now.

"However, this is the most unfavorable situation we could encounter, so [Mugello] can only improve from here."

Mir crossed the finish line ahead of Johann Zarco and his Repsol teammate Luca Marini, who were both riding Hondas.

Zarco debuted an updated aerodynamic package on his LCR motorcycle this weekend, which both Mir and Marini have not yet approved.

Test rider and occasional entrant Stefan Bradl finished 19th, trailing by 20 seconds.

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