Joan Mir moved to within one victory of Valentino Rossi’s lightweight class record for a single season after winning the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. The newly-crowned champion proved too strong for early leader Jorge Martin as the Gresini rider’s wait for a maiden Grand Prix victory goes on.
In a magnificent victory littered with successes, the one thing missing for Mir had been a pole position, but the Leopard rider changed that on Saturday, topping qualifying for just the second time in his career. However, perennial polesitter Martin would make the faster start on Sunday, storming into a 1.7s lead on lap four as Mir became embroiled in a battle over second.
Once Mir found his rhythm though, the gap would soon close and by half distance, the world champion outbraked Martin into turn nine to regain the lead. Enea Bastianini had also jumped across the gap to the leading duo but as the Italian went into battle with Martin for second, including an incident at turn four which forced Enea off track, Mir had just enough breathing space to claim victory.
Martin ultimately held onto second in a photo finish with Bastianini while Livio Loi backed up his rostrum finish at Phillip Island with a fine fourth at Sepang. John McPhee climbed from eighth to fifth in a sensational final lap to edge out leading KTM rider Andrea Migno, as well as Romano Fenati and Aron Canet, the Italian clinching the championship runner-up spot in the process.
Fabio Di Giannantonio and Bo Bendsneyder rounded out the top ten with home favourite Adam Norrodin somehow salvaging eleventh despite crashing out of fifth early on.
Moto3 Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix: Result
|1||36. Joan Mir||Honda||Leopard Racing||40:14.545||25|
|2||88. Jorge Martin||Honda||Del Conca Gresini Moto3||+0.724||20|
|3||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+0.763||16|
|4||11. Livio Loi||Honda||Leopard Racing||+6.868||13|
|5||17. John McPhee||Honda||British Talent Team||+11.051||11|
|6||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+11.090||10|
|7||5. Romano Fenati||Honda||Marinelli Rivacold Snipers||+11.238||9|
|8||44. Aron Canet||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+11.671||8|
|9||21. Fabio Di Giannantonio||Honda||Del Conca Gresini Moto3||+11.959||7|
|10||64. Bo Bendsneyder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+12.062||6|
|11||7. Adam Norrodin||Honda||SIC Racing Team||+12.572||5|
|12||71. Ayumu Sasaki||Honda||SIC Racing Team||+13.581||4|
|13||58. Juanfran Guevara||KTM||RBA BOE Racing Team||+14.885||3|
|14||19. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA BOE Racing Team||+18.736||2|
|15||96. Manuel Pagliani||Mahindra||CIP||+21.986||1|
|16||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Südmetall Schedl GP Racing||+23.365|
|17||42. Marcos Ramirez||KTM||Platinum Bay Real Estate||+23.524|
|18||41. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat||Honda||Honda Team Asia||+25.908|
|19||12. Marco Bezzecchi||Mahindra||CIP||+26.173|
|20||27. Kaito Toba||Honda||Honda Team Asia||+40.612|
|21||84. Jakub Kornfeil||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||+40.772|
|22||14. Tony Arbolino||Honda||SIC58 Squadra Corse||+43.110|
|23||4. Patrik Pulkkinen||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||+1:00.918|
|24||6. Maria Herrera||Mahindra||Mahindra MRW Aspar Team||+1:01.104|
|NC||9. Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin||Honda||Petronas Sprinta Racing||+1 Lap|
|NC||48. Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Mahindra||Mahindra MRW Aspar Team||+2 Laps|
|NC||8. Nicolo Bulega||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+3 Laps|
|NC||23. Niccolo Antonelli||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+10 Laps|
|NC||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Marinelli Rivacold Snipers||+13 Laps|
|NC||40. Darryn Binder||KTM||Platinum Bay Real Estate||+15 Laps|
|NC||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Honda||SIC58 Squadra Corse||+17 Laps|