moto3 / A misstep in Qualifying at Rio Hondo
Livio Loi and Joan Mir will start tomorrow from the fourth and the sixth row of the grid at the Grand Prix of Argentina. The arrival of the rain a few minutes before the end of qualifying determined that the Spaniard, until now the absolute ruler of the weekend, was to start down the grid. Tomorrow promises a battle.
Leopard Racing will have to roll up their sleeves for tomorrow’s race. The rain came in the last moments of the day, just at the end of the qualifying session, to upset the plans of riders and crews. This destroyed the positive work done in the three free practice sessions by Joan Mir, World Championship leader and winner of the opening race in Qatar two weeks ago.
The Palma de Mallorca talent seems to have an edge on this track, confirming it in this morning’s FP3, setting the outright fastest time on the timesheet. Slightly delayed was his teammate Livio Loi, focused on finding a perfect set-up for his Honda NSF250RW around the 4.8 Km of Termas de Rio Hondo. The last round of Free Practice ended with the Belgian in 17th, while Arbolino was the first rider and under thee 1’50″ barrier. Joan Mir, in the last moments, pushed to continue the perfect record against his countrymen Canet and Martin, but eventually it was Bulega with the fastest lap.
In the afternoon the temperatures dropped to 18°C as the air was filled with the threat of rain, meanwhile 22°C on the asphalt left conditions treacherous. Joan Mir began with an attack on the lead with Italians Fenati, Migno, Bulega, Di Giannantonio and the Scot McPhee; the latter capturing the best provisional time. Six minutes from the end, when all riders were ready for their time-attack, the rain came to spoil the strategies. As a result, Mir finds himself in 16th, passed under the checkered flag by his teammate Livio Loi in 12th to close the fourth row.
The protagonists of the Moto3 class will be back on track tomorrow morning at 9:40 for the last 20 minutes of warm-up, just before the second race of the 2017 season that will start at 13:00 (local time).
19 riders are within a second and, although he will start from the sixth row, Mir is not overly concerned after showing great pace in practice. Last season, the Spanish rider was the regular author to extraordinary comebacks in the races despite qualifying poorly. Can the 19 year old from Mallorca repeat his comeback once more?
#11 Livio LOI – 12th (1’49.927):
“Starting 12th is not bad at this track. Tomorrow I expect a hard-fought race with many battles. My rhythm is good; we have also made a small change to the bike that helped me at the end. I am very confident for tomorrow’s race.”
#36 Joan MIR – 16th (1’50.025):
“We were unlucky at the end of qualifying. We started in the best way, I felt at ease and but could not keep a good pace; I am pleased with the pace we have. In our category the slipstream makes the difference. Tomorrow I will fight to stand at the front.”
Moto3™ Qualifying Classification – Termas de Rio Hondo:
1 – J. McPhee / GBR / British Talent Team / Honda / 1’49.094
2 – N. Bulega / ITA / Sky Racing VR46 / KTM / 1’49.248
3 – J. Martin / SPA / Del Conca Gresini / Honda / 1’49.323
12 – L. Loi / BEL / Leopard Racing / Honda / 1’49.927
16 – J. Mir / SPA / Leopard Racing / Honda / 1’50.025
Moto3™ Schedule (Local Time, GMT -3):
Sunday, April 9th:
09:40-10:00 – WarmUp
13:00 (21 Laps) – Race
Photo credit: Leopard Racing