When you’re a MotoGP-level racer, you’re constantly pushing the limits of yourself, your machine, the track, and everything else. Whatever combination of skills, talent, and training got you there, every race is a chance to prove just how good you, your machine, and your team are. Tensions are high, and elbow-to-elbow racing is a given.
If you’re racing that close, conflicts are bound to happen. During the Doha GP on April 4, 2021, Suzuki rider and reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir clashed mightily with Ducati rider Jack Miller. First contact came as a result of a mistake by Mir, which he himself acknowledged. However, Miller’s move later in the same lap was called “super dangerous” by Mir after the race.
In describing the inciting incident, Mir said, “we both touched a bit, then I picked up the bike. It was a maneuver that I understand was risky, but was not over the limit.” Watching video of that particular moment, it appeared to be a pretty standard racing incident. Mir said he lifted his leg afterward as an apology, but it’s unclear if that’s a known and accepted apology gesture among all the racers on track.
Later in the same lap, Mir went wide in the last corner. As he came back on track, Miller continued the line he was on. The two touched much more violently this time, nearly resulting in a crash for both of them. Both riders managed to recover and finish the race, with Joan Mir taking seventh place and Jack Miller taking ninth. Afterward, though, Mir called out what he saw as overly aggressive behavior on Miller’s part.
MotoGP officials reviewed the incident, but no action was ultimately taken. While Mir clearly seemed upset in interviews afterward, Miller appeared very calm, and said that while it was unfortunate, “it is what it is.”
Of course, we can’t know what either rider saw while racing, because the available camera angles just don’t show us that point of view. Watching video footage of both incidents, what do you think about what you’re seeing? Were these both simple racing incidents, or purposely dangerous behavior from either rider? Let us know in the comments.