Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) has taken victory in the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina for his second race win in a row, staging a stunning comeback from P16 to survive a last lap attack from British Talent Team rider John McPhee – with Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) completing the podium as the three rostrum finishers in Qatar proved a cut above in another classic Moto3™ battle.
It was Martin who took the lead off the line from polesitter McPhee, as the two men capitalized the best on their grid positions and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) got a little bogged down off the line. Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) was a big loser as the lights went out, then making contact with compatriot Niccolo Antonelli on the fight back – with the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider retiring as a result and Fenati left with a mountain to climb.
Already climbing his own mountain was Mir, as the Leopard rider made serious progress up from his P16 starting position to get into the front group. That group soon settled into the classic Moto3™ freight train, with lead positions changing between Martin and teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio, McPhee, Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) and Bulega as Qatar GP winner Mir arrived on the scene.
As the pack shuffled, the lead group of five began to pull away, with Mir leading McPhee, Martin, Oettl and Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46); soon clear at the front and ready for a final showdown. In the end, it all came down to Turns 13 and 14 on the final lap, as Mir tried to create a gap and was reeled in once again by McPhee – with the Brit just unable to find his way past in the final corners. Martin completed the podium after proving just a little too far back for a final attack, with Oettl beating Migno to P4.
Livio Loi (Leopard Racing), a comeback from Fenati, an incredible ride from Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and a solid result for Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing) fought it out to take P6 to P9 respectively, ahead of a stunner from rookie and former Asia Talent Cup Champion Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) to complete the top ten.
Canet, Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate), Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) and second SIC58 Squadra Corse rider Tony Arbolino completed the top fourteen, with a fantastic double points finish for the new SIC58 Squadra Corse squad run by Paolo Simoncelli. Bulega was penalized post-race and dropped out the points – leaving Maria Herrera (AGR Team) taking her first point of the season in P15.
Home hero Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing) put in a stunning effort to fight in the lead group before a crash, coming back from a collarbone break in FP1 in Qatar. Also falling out of contention soon after were Di Giannantonio – tagged by Bulega – and 2016 Championship runner up Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0), both riders ok and ‘Bestia’ able to pick it up and continue.
Next up is Texas and the Circuit of the Americas in two weeks – with the top of the title standings as you were and Mir staking a serious early claim on the crown.
Moto3 Race Results
1 – Joan Mir (SPA – Honda) 38’33.377
2 – John McPhee (GBR – Honda) +0.261
3 – Jorge Martin (SPA – Honda) + 0.339