Suzuki rider Joan Mir hasn’t ruled out a move to Honda at the end of the 2022 MotoGP season.
The 2020 world champion is out of contract this year and has been linked to Repsol Honda in recent months.
Mir finished third in the title chase last year, albeit a long way behind Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo and Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia, and has been frustrated with the lack of development of the GSX-RR.
MotoGP riders’ contracts are often signed early in the year before they take effect, and the Spaniard noted that even the 2022 pre-season will be important in determining his future.
It’s a point he reiterated, while doing little to quell speculation about a switch to another of the Japanese brands in the field.
“I think the contracts normally end this year for most riders, so this first part of the year is important to negotiate, to be where you want to be,” Mir told the official MotoGP website. .
“Like I said, I feel pretty comfortable here at Suzuki, I’ve been able to do some really good things here.
“Nothing is done, of course, we have to talk about different things, but as I said, nothing is done; let’s see what happens.”
Pressed on whether Honda or another team was an option, the 24-year-old tried to dodge the question but with little success.
“Normally I like to say something but this time I’m not saying anything about it,” he began.
“I feel comfortable in Suzuki but you never know.”
Should Mir join the factory Honda team, he would most likely replace Pol Espargaro, given that six-time premier class champion Marc Marquez is set to start the second season of four on his current deal.
It is not inconceivable, however, that the Suzuki Ecstar team could change completely for 2023, given that Alex Rins’ contract also expires this year.
Project leader Shinichi Sahara hopes to keep both Mir and Rins.
“Our idea is still to keep the two riders, Joan and Alex, for 2023 or later years,” he told the official MotoGP website.
“As Joan said, the most important thing is the performance of the bike; also, our package, or competitiveness, so I don’t have a big concern about that because we’re making progress on that.
“So I think we can keep Joan.”
Sahara confirmed that talks were underway with Mir, but also on signing a solution to another of his big question marks, namely the lack of a dedicated team leader.
Suzuki hasn’t had any since the surprise departure of Davide Brivio from the Alpine Formula 1 team a little over a year ago, with his duties split between several employees.
However, Sahara took on a lot of the extra work, which he admitted late last year was “way too much” for him.
Still, he shows no concern over whether or not a new team manager is in place ahead of the first round in Qatar in March, although he is hopeful.
“The situation is not changing for now,” Sahara explained.
“It means that we are still planning to have a new team leader for this year 2022, but now is not the right time to say something vague because we are still in negotiation with some people.
“To be honest, it’s taking longer than I wanted and expected, but even now everything is under control in terms of team management, so it’s not a big problem for us and we are not in a hurry, we are not impacted[ed].”
Rins finished third and Mir seventh on day one of the official Sepang test, with day two underway.