MotoGP world champion Joan Mir says he “didn’t need” Marc Marquez to validate his 2020 title win despite people still questioning the legitimacy of the Suzuki rider’s victory.
Mir ended a 20-year wait for Suzuki last month when he won the MotoGP world championship at the Valencia Grand Prix.
But Mir had to immediately field comments from people claiming the absence of six-time world champion Marquez, after he broke his arm at the Spanish Grand Prix, somehow devalued the 2020 title – claims both riders have repeatedly refuted.
Ahead of a third operation on his broken right arm, Marquez told Spain’s DAZN that he felt Mir was a “deserving” champion.
However, Mir – who has been crowned rider of the year in the 2020 Autosport Awards – says he didn’t need Marquez’s opinion to validate his title win, and pointed out many world championships have been won by riders whose rivals were injured.
“I didn’t need the opinion of Marquez, because inside of me we know that there is a lot of risk in this sport,” Mir told Autosport during his awards acceptance interview.
“And we also have to play with this risk, we also have to play with the limit.
“It’s important to don’t cross the limit, because you can get injured. And in that case, Marc in the last years was untouchable.
“He made a mistake in the first race and there are a lot of championships that the main rider crashed or got injured, and then another rider took the opportunity to win the championship.
“This doesn’t mean the championship has less value.
“If you have to remove championships from all the people who won in this way, probably this trophy I have with all the championship [wins] on it will be almost [made up of] nobody!”
Mir told Autosport during a special edition of the Tank Slappers Podcast “I can’t wait to start to have battles with Marc”, but admitted both he and Suzuki need to improve to be able to go toe-to-toe with the Honda rider.
Marquez was discharged from hospital in Madrid last Sunday to continue his recovery from his third operation, and is likely facing a six-month period of rehabilitation – though Honda is yet to give a definitive recovery timeline.
The Autosport 70 special, celebrating the best of motorsport, is no longer available to buy online, but is available to new magazine subscribers. To subscribe, please go to: autosportmedia.com