Qatar Moto3: Mir beats McPhee to first win of 2017

Top 2016 Moto3 rookie Joan Mir kicked off his sophomore campaign in the lightweight class by winning the season-opening race in Qatar ahead of John McPhee.

Qatar Moto3: Mir beats McPhee to first win of 2017
Joan Mir, Leopard Racing lead the field
Joan Mir, Leopard Racing
John McPhee, British Talent Team
John McPhee, British Talent Team
Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3
Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3
Aron Canet, Estrella Galicia 0,0
Romano Fenati, Marinelli Rivacold Snipers

Similarly to MotoGP, the starting order of Moto3 was determined by the combined times of the practice session of Thursday and Friday, as the entire Saturday programme was cancelled due to torrential rain.

Gresini's Jorge Martin started from pole as a result, sharing the front row with Phillip Oettl and Romano Fenati.

Martin kept the lead off the line, and spent the early laps at the sharp end of the leading group, which remained crowded throughout the entire race.

Each lap, first place was traded on the main straight, with Mir, Andrea Migno, McPhee, Juanfran Guevara, Fabio di Giannantonio and Fenati all leading for at least one lap.

Leopard's Mir was the first rider able to stay at the top for any meaningful duration, as he led from Lap 13 to 16 before McPhee slipstreamed past to start the final lap in the lead.

However, Mir quickly fought back to lead again after Turn 4, and the Spaniard built just enough of a cushion up front to deny McPhee any chance of a counterattack.

"Amazing race, amazing to win like this. I want to thank my team for my fast bike, it was strong enough to win today. Finally my second victory of my life is amazing," Mir commented after the race.

McPhee scored his first Moto3 podium in a dry race in second, and secured the first top-three finish of the newly-formed British Talent Team.

Martin kicked off his third Moto3 campaign with his second-ever podium, as Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Aron Canet made it three Spanish riders in the top four.

Romano Fenati took fifth in his first appearance since behind dumped by Sky Racing VR46 last year, followed by fellow Italians Migno (Sky VR46), Niccolo Antonelli (Ajo) and di Giannantonio (Gresini).

Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay) was the last rider in the leading group, while Adam Norrodin (SIC) in 10th place finished a further six seconds adrift.

Last year's Moto3 runner-up Enea Bastianini endured a low-key race, only finishing 16th, two places behind Niccolo Bulega on the second VR46 machine.

Race results

1 spain Joan Mir Honda  
2 united_kingdom John McPhee Honda 0.135
3 spain Jorge Martin Honda 0.218
4 spain Aron Canet Honda 0.252
5 italy Romano Fenati Honda 0.453
6 italy Andrea Migno KTM 0.579
7 italy Niccolo Antonelli KTM 0.661
8 italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Honda 0.878
9 spain  Marcos Ramirez KTM 1.693
10 malaysia Adam Norrodin Honda 7.904
11 japan  Ayumu Sasaki Honda 12.221
12 belgium Livio Loi Honda 16.748
13 south_africa Darryn Binder KTM 16.786
14 italy Nicolo Bulega KTM 16.821
15 japan Tatsuki Suzuki Honda 16.832
16 italy Enea Bastianini Honda 16.943
17 france Jules Danilo Honda 27.583
18 thailand Nakarin Atiratphuvapat Honda 27.638
19 japan Kaito Toba Honda 27.641
20 czech_republic Jakub Kornfeil Peugeot 28.034
21 spain Maria Herrera KTM 28.150
22 italy  Manuel Pagliani Mahindra 28.379
23 italy  Lorenzo dalla Porta Mahindra 28.388
24 italy  Tony Arbolino Honda 29.520
25 italy  Marco Bezzecchi Mahindra 54.344
26 netherlands Bo Bendsneyder KTM 1'09.769
Ret finland Patrik Pulkkinen Peugeot 4 laps
Ret spain Juan Francisco Guevara KTM 6 laps
Ret germany Philipp Ottl KTM 6 laps
Ret spain Albert Arenas Mahindra 14 laps
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