Yesterday we presented you the first part of the Moto3 Top 10 in the vision of our team. Now it is time to bring on the second part, where we will reveal the 1-5 positions.
5. Marcos Ramirez (#42)
Spanish rider Marcos Ramirez was definitely one of the most impressive riders throughout the 2017 Moto3 season as he managed to get involved in the podium fights more than often with a team that had been struggling outside the top 15 in the previous seasons.
Having collected 10 points in the first three races, Ramirez did a great qualifying session on home turf in Jerez, establishing the 5th fastest time. The 19-years old Spaniard mantained the same high pace on race day and stayed in the front group throughout the whole race, also grabbing the lead at some point. He crossed the line in 4th, missing out on the podium for only 0.203, but establishing a new career best. Ramirez kept up the good job two weeks later in France, where he once again finished 4th, this time only 0.104 off the podium.
After another spectacular three GPs for Ramirez in Italy (9th), Catalunya (6th) and Assen (6th), the much awaited day of the maiden podium came in Germany. The Platinum Bay Real Estate rider managed to stay close to title rivals Joan Mir and Romano Fenati and the trio pulled away from the other competitors. Ramirez settled quietly in 3rd, leaving Mir and Fenati to fight it out for the win, securing his first ever podium finish. Perfect way to end the first half of the season.
The second part was much tougher for Ramirez, as his best result since Brno before the season finale was a 7th place finish in Aragon. Two wet races in Misano and Motegi and a crash in Australia affected his good run of results. However, Ramirez knew how to strike back on home turf in Valencia and scored his second podium finish, holding off Romano Fenati to cross the line in 3rd. He finished the season 8th overall, with 123 points.
4. Aron Canet (#44)
Having caught some attention in his debut season, when he gathered one podium finish, one pole position and some top 10 finishes, Aron Canet evolved in 2017 to the state of championship contender.
The qualifying session of the Americas GP was Canet`s first outburst, as the young Spaniard took pole position for more than one second ahead of the 2nd place on the grid. He kept up the good rhytm on race day, establishing the fastest lap, but ended with a “heartbreak” as he crashed out while battling Romano Fenati for the win.
Canet did not let this result affect his morale and came back even stronger on home turf. He won the race in Jerez after some extraordinary last lap maneuvers against Romano Fenati and Joan Mir. The Spaniard carried on the podium form in Le Mans, where he finished 2nd, behind Mir. Two strong performances followed in Mugello and Catalunya, where Canet crossed the finish line in 5th place on both occasions. Another magnificent last lap strategy brought Canet his second win of the season in Assen, where he defeated Romano Fenati for only 0.035.
Canet could have entered the summer break as Mir`s main rival, but another crash in Germany, similar to the one in Austin (as he again started from pole) gave Fenati the opportunity to take the 2nd place in the championship from him. In the second half of the championship, Canet continued battling at the front. He kicked it off with a 3rd place finish in Brno, followed by a 5th place in Austria and a third stunning win in Silverstone. He did not climb the podium ever since that race, but two additional 5th place finishes in Misano and Aragon and a 9th place in Valencia secured him the bronze medal at the end of the year.
Next year, Canet will remain alongside Estrella Galicia 0,0 in the lightweight class and, with Mir and Fenati promoted to Moto2, we can expect the Spaniard to be a serious title contender.
3. Jorge Martin (#88)
Another impressive Spaniard in 2017 was Del Conca Gresini`s Jorge Martin. The Madrid-born 19-years old rider kicked-off the season with a pole position in Qatar converted in a 3rd place finish in the race. Same race result was repeated in Argentina. The Austin round held at the Circuit of the Americas brought a new season best for Martin, who crossed the line in 2nd after an intense duel with his teammate, Fabio Digiannantonio. This result lifted him to the 2nd place in the championship, only 6 points behind leader Joan Mir.
A sensational run of 5 straight pole positions followed for Martin, but, unfortunately, he was not able to take advantage of them. Inappropriate strategies in the dying moments of the races threw him to 9th in Jerez and 15th in Mugello. Between this 2 GPs, he crashed out of the French GP at Le Mans, gathering no points. Two strong performances followed in Catalunya and Assen, where Martin finished 3rd and 4th, respectively.
Disaster struck for Jorge Martin in the Free Practice session of the German GP, as he suffered a heavy highside which caused him a broken ankle and tibia. He tried to come back after the summer break in Brno, but, after Friday, he announced his retirement from the reminder of the GP as his pain was too intense.
One week later in Austria Martin returned and offered us a moment we will never forget. In spite of using crutches to walk, on the bike he was simply magnificent and won the battle for the 3rd place. A 3rd place that for sure felt like a victory, as Martin could be seen crying in the parc ferme and at the podium ceremony.
The Spaniard impressed again two weeks later at Silverstone, where he fought for the win throughout the whole race. He was the leader when the red flag appeared and, unfortunately for him, he was only 3rd at the end of the last completed lap. So, once again, his effort was not enough for a maiden career win. Martin came back to the pole position ways in Aragon and Australia, converting them into a 4th and another 3rd place, respectively.
Martin once again equaled his career best in Malaysia, where he was the best of the rest behind a dominant Joan Mir. The season finale at Valencia started good for Martin as he clinched on Saturday his 9th pole of the season, an absolute record in the Moto3 class. This time, there was nothing that could stop Martin on race day. No rain, no red flag, no Joan Mir. He led from start to finish, securing his 9th podium finish of the season and the first ever win. He finished the season 4th overall, only 3 points behind Aron Canet.
Next year Martin will stay alongside Gresini Racing in the lightweight class and we can expect him to be Canet`s main rival in the title fight.
2. Romano Fenati (#5)
After 5 years in the category during which factors like his inconsistency and impulsivity did not allow him to be a serious contender for the World Championship, Romano Fenati finally found an antidote for these problems in 2017 alongside Marinelli Rivacold Snipers team.
Having last won a GP at COTA in 2016, Fenati struck again at the venue and won for more than 4 seconds ahead of Jorge Martin. He carried on the good form in Jerez, where he crossed the line in 2nd.
Fenati`s first and only DNF of the season came in Le Mans, where he crashed out of the race while in the lead, throwing away 25 vital points in the championship.
After a disappointing home race in Mugello, where he finished only 13th, Fenati knew how to come back in style and scored 4 consecutive podium finishes in Catalunya, Assen, Sachsenring and Brno. On each occasion, he crossed the line in 2nd place.
From that point, Fenati managed to show his class only in wet conditions. He dominated on a soaked Misano Circuit, taking the win for more than 28 seconds ahead of Joan Mir. Same scenario happened in Japan, where Fenati once again mastered the wet conditions and scored his 3rd win of the season. Solid prestations followed in Australia, Malaysia and Valencia, where he finished 6th, 7th and 4th, respectively. He finished the season as a runner-up, 93 points behind one-man-show Joan Mir.
Taking into consideration the fact that Fenati had not raced for a period of 6 months before the season opener in Qatar due to his dismissal from Valentino Rossi`s team in mid 2016, we can affirm that the Italian veteran had a great 2017 season. Next year we will finally see him stepping up to the intermmediate class.
1. Joan Mir (#36)
For sure there is no suprise that the first position of our top 10 goes to Joan Mir, who can be easily described in one word at the end of this season – UNSTOPPABLE.
Having clinched the “Rookie of the Year” title in 2016, Joan Mir started the season in the best way possible, winning in both Qatar and Argentina. This allowed him to slow down a little bit in Austin, where he finished 8th.
Mir came back to podium ways on home turf in Jerez, where he finished 3rd after a magnificent battle with Aron Canet, Romano Fenati and Marcos Ramirez. Two weeks later in France, he took advantage of Fenati`s crash and scored another win, increasing his lead in the championship considerably.
Total madness in the last laps of the Italian and Dutch GPs saw Mir falling down into 7th and 9th, respectively, but there was no reason to dispair as the Spaniard born in Mallorca had won the Catalan GP, which took place between the other 2 races.
Mir struck again before the summer break when he pipped Fenati on the very last lap in Sachsenring, increasing his lead to 37 points. He started the second half of the year in the same manner as the first, with two resounding and dominant wins in Brno and Austria.
With a difference of already 64 points after Austria, Mir did not slow down and won again in Aragon, after a 2nd place in Misano and a 5th place in Silverstone. The only race without points occured in Japan, where Mir could not handle the wet conditions and crossed the line in 17th.
However, that motivated Mir even more as he went on to win the following race at Phillip Island and mathematically clinch the title. One week later he won again, this time in Malaysia, reaching a milestone of 10 wins in a single season.
In the season finale at Valencia, Mir ran wide in the opening laps and fall outside the points zone. Nonetheless, Mir once again showed his class and climbed all the way up to P2, finishing the season with 10 wins, 13 podium finishes, 1 pole position and 341 points (a new points record for the lightweight class).
Last rider to score 10 wins in a single season in the lightweight class was a certain Marc Marquez. Next year we will see Joan Mir racing in the Moto2 class alongside powerhouse team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, so we can expect even greater things from the young Spaniard.
photo credit – motogp.com