Joan Mir steamrollers Spielberg in style
Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) took a supreme victory at the Red Bull Ring from P10 on the grid, fighting his way through to the front and then uncatchable for his second consecutive victory at the venue – becoming the first rider in the lightweight class since Valentino Rossi in 1997 to win seven or more races from the first eleven. Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) took an impressive second at a track he considers akin to a home venue, with Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) pushing through the pain barrier to stage a stunning comeback from injury in P3.
At lights out, RBA BOE Racing duo Gabriel Rodrigo and Juanfran Guevara both got good starts at the head of the grid, with Guevara into the lead before John McPhee (British Talent Team) took over by Turn 3. Then initial superstar Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) moved through, and the early scuffle saw points leader Mir unable to move up far from P10 on the grid – a good omen for the rest of the grid.
Soon, however, the Majorcan began to claw his way back through the field, joining McPhee, Martin, Bendsneyder and Rodrigo at the front – but Oettl had other plans, starting to pull the gap back and creating a classic Moto3 ™ freight train at the front as he brought some company along for the ride.
Mir then began to pull a gap as the front group behind him began to fight, allowing him to escape – with an incredible battle for the podium raging behind. Two men then exiting the battle were Bendsneyder and McPhee, as the Dutchman went into Turn 1 too hot and collected the Scot.
With Mir clear in P1, Oettl began to pull the pin, with the same pace that saw him bridge the gap to the group allowing him to get some clean air. The German was able to stay ahead in the last few laps and keep himself in a safe second over the line for his first dry weather podium, as Martin dueled Livio Loi (Leopard Racing) and Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) for the final rostrum place.
Incredibly, Martin completed the hard-fought fairytale through the pain barrier, taking third and then holding it over the line for an incredible return to the grid and the podium – hobbling in parc ferme afterwards; his healing leg far from 100% after a crash during the German GP.
Loi took fourth after some impressive pace, with Canet not quite able to repeat his Brno heroics and completing the top five. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) took sixth, with polesitter Rodrigo bringing it home in seventh for a good haul of hard-earned points to add to his impressive qualifying pace of late. Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team) was another to convert promising pace into a great result; the Malaysian taking eighth at the flag.
One of the other headline performances of the day came from rookie Jaume Masia (Platinum Bay Real Estate), replacing injured Darryn Binder, who got up in the battle at the front and as high as second at one point – even setting a new lap record. A true arrival onto the world stage, the Spaniard crossed the line in P9 at the flag for an awesome debut brought home in the top ten. Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completed that top ten for some good points, after also fighting a little further forward during the first few laps.
Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) was 11th, ahead of a good comeback from outside the top twenty from Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate). Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) crossed the line in P13 after running wide earlier in the race, making some progress but not able to crack the top ten. Juanfran Guevara was another early frontrunner to lose ground in fourteenth, with Japanese rookie Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) taking the final points position in P15.
Next it’s the expansive classic venue of Silverstone for the British GP, and another different challenge in two weeks.
Moto3 Race Results
1 – Joan Mir (SPA – Honda) 37’23.124
2 – Philipp Oettl (GER – KTM) + 3.045
3 – Jorge Martín (SPA – Honda) + 3.377