Wheelies 2017 – Moto3 Top 10 – Part 2

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

Wheelies 2017 – Moto3 Top 10 – Part 1

As we all know, the 2017 MotoGP World Championship has reached its conclusion on the 12th of November, in Valencia. We have decided to make a Top 10 of the riders in each class, taking into consideration factors like performances, team, age, constructor, previous motorcycling experience, injuries and so on. Here is our take on the Moto3 class: 

 

10. Tatsuki Suzuki (#24)

Having debuted in the category in 2015 with the CIP team and racing for them also in 2016, the young Japanese rider caught the attention of Paolo Simoncelli, the father of the late 2008 250cc World Champion Marco Simoncelli, who entered the competition this year with his own team, SIC58 Squadra Corse. Suzuki was chosen as one of the 2 riders of the team and he did not fail to repay the confidence which was put in him.

The Japanese managed to finish inside the top 10 in 4 of the first 9 races, with a best result of 8th in both Argentina and Assen. However, he was also followed by some bad luck as he scored 4 DNFs in a row (Austin-Jerez-Le Mans-Mugello). The second half of the year was better in this aspect as Suzuki finished in the points zone in 6 out of 9 races. He had his moment of glory on home turf in Motegi, where he cruised to a superb 4th place on the soaked track. He finished the championship 14th overall, having gathered a total of 71 points. Nothing really amazing for the Asian, but considering his lack of experience on a Honda and the fact that his team was at their maiden season in the World Championship, he did good, exceeding the expactations.

 

9. Gabriel Rodrigo (#19)

The rider followed by the biggest amount of bad luck throughout the 2017 season of the ligtweight class was definitely Gabriel Rodrigo.

The Spanish-born Argentine rider raced for the RBA BOE Racing Team, the team with whom he raced from 2014. He started the year by showing great pace in the Free Practice sessions of the Qatar GP, but he was forced to miss the race after suffering a collarbone fracture due to a crash sustained in the Qualifying session. He did his best in order to get back on track for his home GP in Argentina and he managed to do so, but, unfortunately, crashed out of it.

Having gathered few points in Austin and Jerez, Rodrigo suffered another injury which forced him to sit out both the French and Italian GPs. His comeback in Catalunya was once again unfortunate as he crashed while battling for a position in the top 5. Rodrigo finally managed to complete a weekend successfully in Assen where, having started 12th, crossed the line in 7th, at about half a second behind the race winner. Good things seemed to be finally coming Rodrigo`s way.

Unfortunately for the young Argentine rider, that was not the case. He opened the second half of the season with an amazing pole position in Brno, but he crashed in the very last lap while running inside the top 10. Rodrigo did not let this affect his morale and he struck back with another fabulous pole position one week later in Austria. This time he kept himself on the bike and ran in the front group from start to finish, eventually crossing the line in 7th, only 0.427 away from a spot on the podium. Rodrigo stayed in good form for the following GP at Silverstone, where he scored a new career best – 4th place. Only a red flag prevented him from his first ever podium finish, as he was running in 2nd when the race was stopped. However, at the end of the last completed lap, Rodrigo was only 4th.

The old “curse” started pursuing Rodrigo again in the next 3 GPs. He showed good pace on Fridays and Saturdays in Misano, Aragon and Motegi, but he ended up crashing out of all these 3 races. Good for him, he bounced back in Australia, where he equaled his personal best of 4th and also set the fastest lap of the race.

After all these enormous variations in results, Rodrigo ended the season in 16th place, with 54 points. It is obvious that he still has to improve his stability on the bike and his mentality in key moments, but his speed and his determination to come back stronger after every injury and after every heartbreaking failure determined us to give him a place in our Top 10.

 

8. Juanfran Guevara (#58)

One place higher than Gabri Rodrigo it`s his teammate, Spanish rider Juanfran Guevara. After 4 years spent in the class during which he was not able to really challange the front positions, Guevara managed to find his rhytm in 2017 alongside the RBA BOE Racing Team and was a podium contender in many races.

His first shot at a podium spot came in Le Mans, where he crossed the line in 6th, only 0.6 behind the 2nd place. Nonetheless, he scored his maiden podium finish in the very next GP, by crossing the line in 3rd place on the Mugello Circuit.

Except for the Catalan GP, Guevara scored points in every race until Silverstone, including an impressive 5th place finish in Brno. Then, at the British GP, the Spaniard stayed in the front group for a big part of the race but, unfortunately, suffered a heavy crash which left him unconscious near the asphalt. In spite of the fact that he did not suffer any serious injury, the crash seriously affected his form as he managed to gather only 5 points throughout the following 5 races. However, he managed to came back in style in the season finale at Valencia, where he brought some joy to the crowd by crossing the line in 6th.

 

7. John McPhee (#17)

One of the most beautiful surprises of the Moto3 season was Scottish rider John McPhee, who had his best season in the lightweight class since the start of his career.

After a disastrous 2016 season alongside the Peugeot Saxoprint Team, in which he finished 22nd overall, McPhee signed for the brand new British Talent Team, a team run by Dorna as part of the Road to MotoGP program.

McPhee had a brilliant start of the year and finished 2nd in both of the first two races in Qatar and Argentina. He could not mantain this amazing pace in every race, but he still played an important role in the battles inside or just outside the top 10. He scored a 3rd podium finish in Assen, by crossing the line in 3rd. In the second half of the season he was pretty inconstant as he failed to finish 3 races. However, he managed to compensate with 3 top 6 finishes in Brno (6th), Aragon (6th) and Sepang (5th), thus securing the 7th place overall at the end of the championship.

 

6. Fabio Diggianantonio (#21)

Having impressed in his debut season in 2016 by scoring 3 podium finishes and ending the season 6th overall, Fabio Digiannantonio remained alongside Gresini Racing for the 2017 season. The young Italian kicked off the season by setting the fastest lap of the Qatar GP, a race finished in 8th place.

After an unfortunate DNF in Argentina, “Diggia” struck back in Austin and climbed the last step of the podium after an intense battle with teammate Jorge Martin, who finished 2nd. The Italian prodigy mantained his great rhytm and finished inside the top 7 in all of the following 4 GPs, including a 3rd place in Le Mans and a 2nd place on home turf in Mugello.

A rough period followed for the Del Conca Gresini rider as he gathered only 5 points in the following 3 GPs. Nonetheless, Digiannantonio managed to get back to his full potential in the following 5 races, which he managed to finish inside the top 10, also scoring another 2 podium finishes in Misano (3rd) and Aragon (2nd). Two DNFs in Australia and Valencia caused Digiannantonio to lose 4th place in the standings in the favour of his teammate, Jorge Martin. However, the Italian`s season remains a very successful one and we can expect him to be a serious title contender in 2018.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the second part of our Top 10, when we will reveal the first 5 positions!

photo credit – crash.net

Jorge Martin stamps his authority on the Ricardo Torino Circuit and takes maiden career win

Jorge Martin dominated the Moto3 race of the Valencia GP after starting from pole position and took his first ever win in the World Championship. Joan Mir made a great come back race and finished 2nd after dropping to 19th in the early stages of the race, while Marcos Ramirez crossed the line in 3rd to make it a 100% Spanish Podium.
The front row riders had a good start and conserved the first 3 positions after Turn 1, with Martin ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo and Mir. 

The trio resisted at the front for the first laps, but Gabriel Rodrigo made a mistake and crashed out of the race. Also, his fall forced Joan Mir to go wide. The championship leader came back on the track only in 19th. 

Jorge Martin started flying towards his first ever win, while the battle for 2nd fired up 2 seconds behind him. 

Bastianini, Ramirez, Foggia and Fenati swapped the 2nd place between them, before Mir made the junction with the group with 5 laps to go. 

The championship leader managed to go up in 2nd and defended it perfectly in the last lap. 

Jorge Martin crossed the line while pulling an enormous Wheelie, a great way to celebrate his 50th GP and a first ever win. 

Joan Mir remained 2nd, while Marcos Ramirez was another great defender as he prevented Fenati from taking his podium spot. Fenati finished his last Moto3 race in 4th after a difficult weekend, with compatriot Enea Bastianini locking out the top 5.

Juanfran Guevara saved the day for RBA BOE Racing after Rodrigo’s early exit, as the Spaniard finished 6th, just ahead of impressive wildcard Dennis Foggia.

John McPhee ended the season with a solid prestation, crossing the line in P8. Aron Canet finished 9th and successfully defended the 3rd place in the championship. Another impressive wildcard was Kazuki Masaki, who rounded up the top 10.

Ayumu Sasaki finished 13th and clinched the ‘Rookie of the Year’ title.

A scary moment during the race was offered by Fabio DiGiannantonio. The Italian tried to overtake Marcos Ramirez on the straight line, but his front wheel made contact with Ramirez’s back wheel during the attempt. As a result, Diggia was thrown off his bike and his body slided towards the end of the line. Fortunately, all the riders managed to avoid the young Italian and he escaped unharmed.

The championship standings is now closed, with Joan Mir in 1st place with 341 points. Romano Fenati finishes his 6-year Moto3 aventure in the runner-up spot, with 248 points. Aron Canet takes the bronze medal, with 199 points, only 3 more than today’s winner, Jorge Martin, who finishes in 4th with 196 points. In spite of the crash, Fabio DiGiannantonio finishes 5th overall, with 153 points. Enea Bastianini and John McPhee remained 6th and 7th, with 141 and 131 points, respectively. Marcos Ramirez goes past Migno and finishes 8th, with 123 points, 5 more than the Italian. The top 10 is locked out by Phillip Oettl, who gathered 105 points in the 18 GPs.

Joan Mir failed to match Valentino Rossi’s record of 11 wins in a single season in the lightweight class, but he managed to establish another record: He ended the season with 341 points, setting a new record for the most points gathered in the lightweight class in a single season. Alvaro Bautista was the previous holder of the record (338 points in the 2006 125cc season).

photo credit – Roadracing World 

John McPhee to race with CIP in Moto3 in 2018

John McPhee will line up on the 2018 Moto3 grid with the CIP team, making the move from the British Talent Team. He will ride a KTM and will share the garage with Kazakh rookie Makar Yurchenko.

The Brit rider has had a great start of the 2017 season, finishing 2nd in both Qatar and Argentina. He was also on the rostrum in Assen, where he crossed the line in 3rd. With some other top 6 finishes and also a lot of DNFs, McPhee sits 7th in the Moto3 standings ahead of the last round in Valencia, only 7 points behind 6th-placed Enea Bastianini and only 5 points ahead of 8th-placed Andrea Migno.

In spite of the fact that 2017 has definitely been his best season so far, McPhee s maiden career win was scored in 2016, in a rain-soaked CzechGP at Brno.

The CIP team has lined up in 2017 with Marco Bezzecchi and Manuel Pagliani as their riders. Bezzecchi scored a superb 3rd place finish at the Japanese GP in wet conditions and sits 23rd in the championship, having gathered a total of 20 points. Pagliani sits 6 places below, with 8 points.

photo credit – GiveMeSport

Mir wins three-way battle in Sepang and clinches 10th win of the season

Joan Mir entertained the Malaysian fans with another masterclass win on the Sepang International Circuit, the 10th of the current season. Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini completed the podium.

Jorge Martin started like a rocket from P2 on the grid and took the lead after Turn 1. At the end of the first lap, he had already put a gap of more than 1 second between him and the rest of the pack.

Enea Bastianini, Gabriel Rodrigo, Joan Mir, John McPhee and Livio Loi tried to catch up with him, but, eventually, only Mir and Bastianini managed to do that. Livio Loi ran all alone in P4 in the second part of the race, as the 5th place was disputed by a group of 10 riders.

Joan Mir was the first one to make a move on Martin. There was nothing the Del Conca Gresini rider could do, but he managed to stay close to the World Champion, not letting him go away. Once he got near the two Spaniards, Bastianini managed to overtake both and take the lead, but, just like Mir, he was not able to pull a gap.

With 4 laps remaining, Joan Mir took the lead from Jorge Martin, who was also overtaken by Bastianini. Some turns later, Martin fought back against Bastianini, nearly touching the Italian and pushing him outside the track limits. This duel slowed down both men, allowing Mir to pull a gap of more than half a second.

Martin was not able to melt the difference to Mir, and, in the last lap, he was again caught by Bastianini and overtaken by the Italian. However, in the last turn, Martin made a decisive move and secured 2nd place.

Joan Mir crossed the line in P1, clinching his 10 win of 2017. Now, he is 1 win away from Valentino Rossi s record for the most wins in the lightweight class (11 – established in 1999 in the former 125cc class). Jorge Martin once again missed a good chance to score his first ever career win, but this 2nd place brings him important points in the battle for 4th in the championship. Enea Bastianini had to be satisfied with 3rd, while Livio Loi came in P4 after a solid and solitary race.

Andrea Migno won the hard fought battle for P5, with John McPhee and Romano Fenati closely following in 6th and 7th, respectively.

Aron Canet came behind Fenati in 8th, with Fabio DiGiannantonio and Bo Bendsneyder completing the top 10.

In the championship standings, Joan Mir, already World Champion, extends his lead to 86 points ahead of Romano Fenati (321-235). The Italian veteran secured the runner-up spot as he is now 43 points ahead of Aron Canet, with only 25 still up for grabs. Jorge Martin consolidates 4th, as he is now 18 points ahead of teammate Fabio DiGiannantonio (171-153). Martin goes into the final round with a slight chance of finishing 3rd, as he sits 19 points behind Canet.

photo credit – Leopard Natural

The rise of Joan Mir – from Replacement rider in 2015 to World Champion in 2017

Last Sunday in Australia, Leopard Racing rider Joan Mir scored a magnificent 9th win of the current Moto3 season at the Phillip Island circuit, thus becoming the new Moto3 World Champion. We will now make a short review of his season and of his performances prior to 2017. 

Before making his debut in the Moto3 World Championship, Joan Mir competed in the Red Bull Rookies Cup in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He was a constant point scorer in 2013, also notching a maiden podium finish at Silverstone (2nd place). He finished the season 9th overall. Already with one year of experience behind him, Mir was a contender for the championship in 2014. In spite of having scored 3 victories and 3 other podium finishes, Mir finished the season as a runner-up to Jorge Martin.

For 2015, Mir moved to the FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship alongside Machado Leopard Junior Team. He managed to win 4 of the first 6 races of the season, but his lack of consistency (Mir failed to score points in no less than 4 races) put him in only 4th place in the final standings of the season.

Also, in 2015 Mir was given the first chance to shine on the World Stage. He took part in the Australian GP as a replacement for Leopard Racing rider Hiroki Ono. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, he had to retire after an incident with John McPhee while battling inside the top 10.

However, his talent did not go unnoticed inside the Leopard Racing garage and he was offered a full ride with the team in 2016. He was a constant top 10 finisher in the first half of the season, with a best result of 6th on home turf in Jerez. Right after the summer break, Mir exploded on the then newly introduced in the calendar RedBull Ring, and took the win from eventual World Champion Brad Binder after starting from pole position. A second podium finish was scored in Misano, where he crossed the line in 3rd. After two consecutive retirements in Phillip Island and Sepang, Mir arrived at the season finale in Valencia with mathematical chances to clinch the Rookie of the Year title. The Valencian GP was Part Two of the Binder-Mir battle, with the Southafrican walking away victorious. However, with Bulega outside of the point zone, Mir finished 5th overall in the championship and clinched the Rookie of the Year title for five points.

Joan Mir remained in the lightweight class in 2017 and, with Brad Binder, Jorge Navarro and Francesco Bagnaia moving up to Moto2, he was considered a championship contender before the start of the season.

He rosed to the expectations and kicked-off the year with a stunning win under the lights of the Losail Circuit in Qatar, defeating John McPhee, Jorge Martin and Aron Canet after a hard-fought battle. He doubled up in Argentina, with the same 2 rivals alongside him on the podium, but in a more impressive manner, as he made his way up from P16 on the starting grid.

The American race held at COTA in Austin, Texas was a tough one for the championship leader, who crossed the line in 8th after qualifying 2nd on Saturday. However, the Spaniard did not let this result affect his morale and came back to podium ways in the next GP. In front of the home crowd at Jerez, Mir crossed the line in 3rd, losing out to winner Canet for only 0.155.

Only 9 points ahead of Romano Fenati before the French GP, the first place in the championship seemed in jeopardy as the Italian veteran took a flying start and got away at the front. However, Fenati crashed, throwing away crucial points in the championship. Mir took advantage and won the race for more than 4 seconds ahead of Aron Canet.

Leading the championship comfortably after Le Mans, Mir finished 7th in an insane Italian GP, before taking a magnificent 4th win of the season on home turf on Circuit de Catalunya.

A wrong strategy in the last lap of the Dutch GP caused an only 9th place finish for Mir on the TT Assen, but this motivated the Majorcan even more, as he went on to win the following 3 GPs (Germany, Brno and Austria). The pure domination of the Leopard Racing rider on the RedBull Ring, corroborated with Fenati s 13th place finish, increased the lead of Mir to 64 points with 7 races to go.

A red-flagged shortened British GP brought a 5th place for Mir, who still managed to finish ahead of key rival Fenati, who was 7th. In a rain soaked race at Misano Mir ran in safe mode, securing the 2nd place after the crash of Jorge Martin. In Aragon Joan Mir came back to the beast mode and clinched a record 8th win of the season, thus giving himself a first match point in Motegi.

Unfortunately, the Japanese GP was wet from start to finish and Mir was not able to repeat the performance from Misano. He crossed the line in 17th, which was his first race finished outside the point zone in 2017.

There was no reason to dispare for Mir as he came in Australia still with an impressing lead in the championship. In need of an at least 2nd place to wrap up the championship, Joan Mir took another resounding win in another race stopped by the red flag. Thus, he officially became the 2017 Moto3 World Champion, on the track on which he made his debut in the championship 2 years before.

Altough not so strong in qualifying sessions (Mir still lacks a pole position in 2017), most of the race days belonged entirely to Joan Mir, who now holds an absolute record in the Moto3 class – 9 wins in a single season. With 2 races to go, the Leopard Racing rider has the chance to equal the record for the most wins in a season in the lightweight class, which was established by Valentino Rossi in 1999 in the 125cc (11 wins).

Next year we will see the World Champion racing in the Moto2 class alongside powerhouse team EG 0,0 Marc VDS. Will he follow the steps of Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins and move to MotoGP with some wins in the class to his name? Or will he add his name to the list of lightweight class World Champions who turn from hero to zero after progressing to the intermmediate category? Time will give us the answer to this question, but, until then, we must leave in the present. And, in the present, Joan Mir is the new Moto3 World Champion.

#MiracleM1R

photo credit – motogp.com

 

SIC Racing Team announces roster for 2018

Malaysian team Sepang International Circuit Racing Team (SIC Racing Team) has announced its plans for the upcoming season.

A collaboration between SIC and Petronas will see the team expanding to Moto2 next year, with 2017 podium finisher Hafizh Syahrin as their solo rider.

In Moto3, the team will continue to run 2 riders. Actually, there will be the same duo as in 2017, with Adam Norrodin and Ayumu Sasaki.

With 2 rounds remaining in the 2017 season, Hafizh Syahrin sits 11th in the Moto2 World Championship, the Malaysian having achieved two podium finishes. His home round at Sepang is up next, so he might celebrate in style his new contract.

Adam Norrodin is currently 17th in the Moto3 World Championship, having gathered 37 points across 16 races. His teammate, Ayumu Sasaki, is 22nd, with 25 points. The Japanese rider currently leads the battle for the Rookie of the Year title, as he has 5 more points than Marco Bezzecchi and 9 more than Nakarin Atiratphuvapat.

photo credit – gpmalaysia.com

#MiracleM1R – the Spaniard wins in Australia and becomes Moto3 World Champion

Joan Mir got his 9th win of the season in Phillip Island, thus securing the Moto3 World Championship. Livio Loi finished 2nd, making it a Leopard Racing double, while poleman Jorge Martin completed the podium.

The RBA Racing riders had a great start and took control of the race from Martin after Turn 1, with Gabriel Rodrigo ahead of Juanfran Guevara. Championship rivals Joan Mir and Romano Fenati were close to each other, in 4th and 5th, respectively.

The leading group consisted of more than 10 riders and the leader position was successively swapped between some of them. Every single one of Rodrigo, Guevara, Martin, Mir, Fenati, DiGiannantonio, Ramirez and Loi was in charge of the race at some point.

As the laps were passing, the first incidents occured in the leading group. After dropping to the outside of the top 5, Fabio DiGiannantonio highsided out of the race in Turn 2. Jules Danilo and Juanfran Guevara joined the list, a list later completed by Marcos Ramirez, who lost the front after a contact with Jorge Martin.

The White flag with the red diagonals was brought out by the marshalls, announcing the start of the rain, and it brought with it an exceptional Joan Mir. The championship leader came from the outside of the top 5 and quickly took the lead. Having started from 21st, Livio Loi went up in 2nd and tried to getaway with his teammate.

The Leopard Racing duo was swallowed by some riders which took advantage of the slipstream on the straight, but, as soon as the pack crossed the line and entered the 17th lap, the red flag was waved as the conditions worsened. As more than 2/3 of the race was completed, the race was not restarted and the final results were given by the standings at the end of lap 15.

That meant that Joan Mir and Livio Loi scored a superb double for Leopard Racing, with the Spaniard also securing the World Champonship. Jorge Martin finished 3rd, for the sixth time this season, with Gabriel Rodrigo narrowly missing out on the podium in P4. Enea Bastianini completed the top 5.

Romano Fenati was capable of fighting for the lead throughout the race, but the red flag ended his chances, as he was outside of the podium at the moment of the occurance of the red flag. He was only 6th at the end of Lap 15, and, this result, corroborated with the victory of Joan Mir, brings an end to his title challenge. Ayumu Sasaki scored a career best with P7, with teammate Adam Norrodin in P8. Tatsuki Suzuki and Lorenzo Dalla Porta completed the top 10.

Apart from the crashers already mentioned, other riders to crash out of the Australian GP were John McPhee, Niccolo Antonelli and Aron Canet.

In the championship standings, Joan Mir now has a 70 point advantage over Romano Fenati, with only 50 up for grabs (296-216), so we have ourselves a new World Champion. Aron Canet remains 3rd with 184 points, while Jorge Martin recovers 4th from his teammate; now 5 points ahead of DiGiannantonio (151-146).

photo credit – motorcyclenews.com

Leopard Racing announces Dalla Porta as teammate for Bastianini in 2018

Italian rider Lorenzo Dalla Porta will represent championship winning team Leopard Racing in 2018 alongside compatriot Enea Bastianini.

Dalla Porta debuted in the Moto3 World Championship in the second half of the 2015 season as a replacement for Isaac Vinales in the Husqvarna Factory Laglisse. In 2016, the Italian clinched the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship. Also, just like in 2015, he raced in the Moto3 World Championship in the second half of the season, this time as a replacement for Romano Fenati in the Sky VR46 Racing Team.

2017 is the first full-time season for Dalla Porta in the lightweight category. Racing for Mahindra Aspar Team, Lorenzo currently sits 32th in the standings, having gathered only 3 points.

photo credit – Mahindra Racing

Rain master strikes again – Fenati dominates Motegi and keeps title hopes alive

Romano Fenati dominated the Japanese Grand Prix of the lightweight class, which was held on a flooded Motegi circuit. Niccolo Antonelli and Marco Bezzechi made it an 100% Italian podium.

Having started from 6th, Fenati went up into 3rd after the first corner, as Antonelli took the lead from Bulega. In spite of the good start, Bulega was not able to match the pace of his compatriots and lost many positions. Championship leader Joan Mir had a tough start, falling in 22nd.

Fenati closed the gap to Antonelli, doing fastest lap after fastest lap, and it became clear that the title contender would not lose too much time behind his countryman.

After 3 laps, Fenati made the move on Antonelli, who had no chance of fighting back. The Marinelli Rivacold rider slowly but surely pulled away at the front.

Behind the Italian duo, Aron Canet was running in 3rd place, but he was overtaken by both Marco Bezzechi and local hero Tatsuki Suzuki. The Italian-Japanese duo kept the spectators in suspense in the battle for the last spot on the podium until the closing laps of the race.

Joan Mir was not able to make his way through the field. All the race, the Spaniard stayed in the zone between P17-P22.

Although close one to each other, in the Bezzechi-Suzuki there was not any overtake. With 2 laps to go, Bezzechi managed to pull a gap.

Fenati crossed the line in 1st, more than 4 seconds ahead of Antonelli, who scored his first podium finish of the season. It was an emotional moment for Mahindra rider Marco Bezzechi, who notched his first ever podium finish in the World Championship. Tatsuki Suzuki delighted the home crowd with his great performance and crossed the line in 4th, while Aron Canet completed the top 5.

The battle for 6th was won by Phillip Oettl, with Fabio DiGiannantonio, Jakub Kornfeil and Bo Bendsneyder only few tenths of a second behind him in 7th, 8th and 9th, respectively. John McPhee rounded up the top 10, with Nakarin Atiratphuvapat in 11th after a strong performance. Poleman Nicolo Bulega finished only 12th, just ahead of teammate Andrea Migno. Spaniards Marcos Ramirez and Jorge Martin grabbed the last points available, with Enea Bastianini and Joan Mir missing out in 16th and 17th.

In spite of the tricky conditions, not many accidents have occured. Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Manuel Pagliani exited the race in the first lap, with Adam Norrodin crashing out 5 laps later while running inside the top 10. Later on, Gabriel Rodrigo suffered a highside and his bike collected Ayumu Sasaki. Both retired. Last man to retire was Rodrigo s teammate, Juanfran Guevara, who crashed out with 2 laps to go after a mistake in the same place as his teammate. All the crashers escaped unharmed.

In the championship standings, Romano Fenati cuts the lead of Joan Mir to 55 points (271-216) with 75 still up for grabs. Canet remains 3rd with 184 points but out of the title fight, while DiGiannantonio consolidates 4th ahead of teammate Jorge Martin (146-135).

This is the 10th win of Romano Fenati in Moto3, an absolute record in the class. Previously, Fenati shared this record with Joan Mir and Luis Salom, all with 9 wins each.

photo credit – Romano Fenati / Facebook