moto3 / A dramatic Qualifying for Joan ‘Miracle’ Mir
With an all-in last lap, the leader of the Moto3 class conquered the first row of the grip for the Italian GP, turning a potential disaster into a miracle. A tense race is expected for team mate Livio Loi tomorrow.
There was an air of opportunity at the 2017 Italian Grand Prix, hosted at the now traditional Mugello Circuit. Fans swarmed in from the early hours of the morning, spurred on by hot temperatures (20°C air / 28°C Asphalt) and a sun that engulfed the region.
The Leopard Racing Team started the day on the right foot, as evidenced by the progress made in FP3. The morning session saw Belgian Livio Loi improve his reference time significantly, closing in on the leaders. But above all it was Joan Mir who once again impressed everyone with his pace and consistency, setting him as the best in the category.
But the fight was still to come, just in the middle of the day. At the beginning of the timed session of the Official Qualifying, the talent of Palma de Mallorca was the victim of a fall at Turn 1. An unhappy rider and the start of a race against time for the mechanics to repair his Honda. Meanwhile, Livio Loi struggled in search to improve his feeling on corner entry.
At the time of his return to the track, Joan Mir was in 22nd position, having time for only one lap before the checkered flag came out. But the 19-year-old Spaniard performed another miracle with an exemplary performance, an extraordinary lap earned him third position in the session behind Martin and McPhee, the three ‘JM’s together again.
It was a well deserved front row for the Leopard Racing rider, whatever Race Direction’s decisions are for his FP3-penalised rivals. The protagonists of the Moto3 class will return tomorrow morning at 8:40 am for 20 minutes of Warm Up, anticipating the 2017 season’s sixth race, which will kick off at 11:00 local time.
#36 Joan MIR – 3rd (1’57.370):
“I am very happy with this performance, even if starting first or third does not change much, especially on this circuit due to overtaking and slipstreaming. I’m happy for this first row, I’ve done everything to save the situation that got complicated much after the start of the session. Let’s see what’s going on tomorrow.”
#11 Livio LOI – 26th (1’59.067):
“A very difficult qualification. In the final I found myself bottled in traffic: many have improved their time, but I have encountered some more difficulties. I still miss the right feeling, let’s see if we find a solution in the morning during the Warm Up, because in the race we will have to fight.”
Moto3™ Qualifying Classification:
1 – J. Martin / SPA / Del Conca Gresini / Honda / 1’57.176
2 – J. McPhee / GBR / British Talent / Honda / 1’57.324
3 – J. Mir / SPA / Leopard Racing / Honda / 1’57.370
26 – L. Loi / BEL / Leopard Racing / Honda / 1’59.067
Moto3™ Schedule (Local Time, GMT +2):
Sunday, June 4th:
08:40-09:00 – WarmUp
11:00 (20 Laps) – Race
Photo credit: Leopard Racing