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The first half of the 2017 Moto3™ season has seen one man rise to the top thus far: Leopard Racing’s Joan Mir. Clear by 37 points at the top of the standings, the Majorcan seems to be holding all the cards as the paddock prepares for the Czech GP – but now the pressure is really on as the marathon season becomes a sprint through nine races.

How Mir will cope with that pressure – or perhaps not feel it at all – will have a big bearing on how the remainder of 2017 plays out, and will depend a lot on his rivals and what they bring. Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) is a key player and will know it’s now or never as he prepares for the final stint, ready to do anything to catch Mir – with tactics often a strong point for the Italian. The man on the receiving end of those tactics in Texas, Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), will be another gunning for glory and looking to up the ante as the two closest challengers prepare themselves to take the gloves off.

Last year’s winner at Brno, John McPhee (British Talent Team), is another whose sights will be set high. With a win at the track a good confidence boost for the venue specifically, the first half of the season was also largely a good one for McPhee, with a number of podiums and some stunning rides. The Scot can’t be counted out in the fight up top.

Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) – the rider to have taken most of the pole positions so far this year – will be hoping to get back on track to chase Mir, too. The Spaniard was injured in practice for the German GP and is training hard to make a return at Brno, only having missed one race and aware the second half of the season is just as long as the first – as is his teammate, Fabio Di Giannantonio. Taking a little more time to find some traction, the Italian is now in the top five in the title fight and back in the battle. There is time on the clock in 2017; of that there is no doubt.

Local support will be behind Jakub Kornfeil (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) too, as the Moto3™ veteran flies the flag on home turf – where his team won last year.

The same count of races remains, but with a very different ending. Summer break is over, Moto3™ is back in session and now it’s a sprint to the line and the season finale in Valencia. Bikes get back on track at 9:00 (GMT +2) on Friday.

Moto3 World Championship Classification

1 – Joan Mir (SPA – Honda) 165 points
2 – Romano Fenati (ITA – Honda) 128 points
3 – Aron Canet (SPA – Honda) 110 points
4 – Jorge Martín (SPA – Honda) 89 points
5 – Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA – Honda) 85 points

Moto3 gear up for Le Mans with Joan Mir in charge