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Mir feeling the pressure as thrilling title race heads to Valencia

06/11/20

The heat is on in the championship battle.

Joan Mir concedes he is feeling the pressure as the MotoGP™ championship leader attempts to protect his slender lead in a thrilling title race in Valencia this weekend.

The Suzuki Ecstar rider is in the peculiar position of topping the riders' standings without having won a race in the 2020 season and is 15 clear of Fabio Quartararo ahead of the European Grand Prix in the first of a double header at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Indeed, only 28 points separate the top five with just three races of the season remaining and for Mir the focus is only on what he can produce, not how his rivals fare.

"Yeah, for sure, I'm feeling a little bit more pressure because the championship is getting older, so every one of us feels like this it's going to finish soon," Mir told a news conference.

"I'm just enjoying the moment. We will see what position we will finish on Sunday. I'm confident of doing a good job, giving 100 per cent and at the end we will see where we are.

"Honestly, I didn't care about the others, I just care about my feeling. That's something I have enough of, have a great feeling on the bike. With three races to go it's not a bad position.

"It's important to continue like that. For sure, we can see there are a lot of title contenders, more than normal, but it is what it is. I don't care about the others, I care about getting the feeling."

Quartararo formerly led the standings but the Frenchman, a winner of three races all in Spain this season, was 18th and eighth in two races at Motorland Aragon prior to a break last weekend.

The Petronas Yamaha man says he feels like some of the weight on his shoulders has been lifted by not topping the standings, and insists it is all to play for.

"It was tough to reset when you have two races at the same track, in the second race you go backwards and don't make any improvements and then you see your team-mate (Franco Morbidelli) and he is doing one of the best races of the season," Quartararo said.

"Honestly, it is tough to understand when we were there but I have pressed the reset button and we have arrived at a track that I really like. Last year was a super good race for us. I am fully motivated and I think it is the correct mood to arrive in for the last triple-header.

"You know, most of the season I've been in front of the championship and I was feeling no pressure but now that I am second I feel that I had a little bit of pressure and right now I feel much better.

"I think all of the riders that are here can win the championship easily. We have to stay focused, don't lose it and take it race by race."