Mir Hangs on to Beat McPhee in Qatar

Joan Mir held his nerve in a final lap battle with John McPhee to win the opening round of the 2017 Moto3 season in Qatar. The Spaniard, who claimed last year’s Rookie-of-the-Year title, gave reason to suggest that the ultimate prize could be possible this season with a superbly-judged victory.

Although tonight’s race marked the start of a new season, Moto3 produced its usual excitement with a thirteen-rider group disputing the lead for much of proceedings. Front-row starter Philipp Oettl was among those staking a claim for victory but the German saw his hopes evaporate on lap thirteen after outbraking himself at turn six, wiping Juanfran Guevara out in the process.

Italian pair Romano Fenati and Fabio Di Giannantonio also had spells in the lead with slipstreaming playing a key role but the one constant at the front was Mir whose speed onto the start/finish straight would regularly see him lead across the finish line.

With a lap to go, McPhee made his bid for victory on the British Talent Team Honda, diving past Mir’s Leopard machine into turn one, but the Spaniard responded quickly and decisively, outbraking the Scotsman into turn four before controlling the remainder of the final lap.

McPhee took second to give the British Talent Team a podium finish to mark their Grand Prix debut while Jorge Martin translated pole position into third, just two tenths off the victory. Aron Canet produced one of the best showings of his Moto3 career in fourth while Fenati could only manage fifth on his return to the series.

Andrea Migno was the first KTM rider home in sixth, just ahead of the sole Red Bull Ajo rider Niccolo Antonelli, team-mate Bo Bendsneyder having crashed out of the leading group. Di Giannantonio fell to eighth, just ahead of Marcos Ramirez while Adam Norrodin claimed a career-best tenth, edging out rookie team-mate Ayumu Sasaki.


Moto3 Grand Prix of Qatar: Race Result (18 Laps)

136. Joan MirHondaLeopard Racing38:27.36425
217. John McPheeHondaBritish Talent Team+0.13520
388. Jorge MartinHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto3+0.21816
444. Aron CanetHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0+0.25213
55. Romano FenatiHondaMarinelli Rivacold Snipers+0.45311
616. Andrea MignoKTMSky Racing Team VR46+0.57910
723. Niccolo AntonelliKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+0.6619
821. Fabio Di GiannantonioHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto3+0.8788
942. Marcos RamirezKTMPlatinum Bay Real Estate+1.6937
107. Adam NorrodinHondaSIC Racing Team+7.9046
1171. Ayumu SasakiHondaSIC Racing Team+12.2215
1211. Livio LoiHondaLeopard Racing+16.7484
1340. Darryn BinderKTMPlatinum Bay Real Estate+16.7863
148. Nicolo BulegaKTMSky Racing Team VR46+16.8212
1524. Tatsuki SuzukiHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse+16.8321
1633. Enea BastianiniHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0+16.943
1795. Jules DaniloHondaMarinelli Rivacold Snipers+27.583
1841. Nakarin AtiratphuvapatHondaHonda Team Asia+27.638
1927. Kaito TobaHondaHonda Team Asia+27.641
2084. Jakub KornfeilPeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint+28.034
216. Maria HerreraKTMAGR Team+28.150
2196. Manuel PaglianiMahindraCIP+28.379
2348. Lorenzo Dalla PortaMahindraMAHINDRA MOTARD Aspar+28.388
2414. Tony ArbolinoHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse+29.520
2512. Marco BezzecchiMahindraCIP+54.344
2664. Bo BendsneyderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+1:09.769
NC4. Patrik PulkkinenPeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint+4 Laps
NC58. Juanfran GuevaraKTMRBA BOE Racing Team+6 Laps
NC65. Philipp OettlKTMSüdmetall Schedl GP Racing+6 Laps
NC75. Albert ArenasMahindraMAHINDRA MOTARD Aspar+14 Laps
NS19. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA BOE Racing TeamInjured