moto3 / Front row in Qualifying for Mir at CoTA
With exceptional action in the last few minutes, the Moto3 Championship leader secured second on the grid behind the pole of Canet, with the Fenati completing the first row. A good step forward for Livio Loi who will start from the sixth row.
A front row he did not expect, arriving in the last moment of Qualifying at the Grand Prix of the Americas. The Leopard Racing Team is not surprised however, using the right strategy for the 5.5 km of the Austin circuit to allow their ace rider, Joan Mir, to take prime position for tomorrow and the third round of 2017.
On Saturday morning in Texas the young Moto3 riders were welcomed by significantly lower temperatures (17°C air / 23°C asphalt) than yesterday. Joan Mir started his day dancing on his Honda NSF250RW and always running in the top five. Slowed by traffic, the Mallorca’s talent was unable to improve the time recorded on Friday, which he did with his teammate Livio Loi. In FP3 the Belgian improved his time by a full second.
In the afternoon, the Moto3 Qualifying session was full of drama and emotion, Canet enjoyed breaking the pole position record of Danny Kent, set in 2015. Livio Loi started the session with determination, coming down under the 2’17 barrier with a run that eventually led to the 16th best time. But the surprise came from Joan Mir in the final minutes. On a circuit that is not among his favourites, Mallorca’s talent made a one-lap masterpiece by grabbing the second position, ahead of the Fenati by a mere 0.010s.
Both Leopard Racing Team bikes also recorded the highest top speeds of the two current sessions (about 234 km/h). The protagonists of the Moto3 class will return tomorrow morning at 8:40 am for the last 20 minutes of Warm Up, anticipating the 2017 season’s third race , which will kick off at 11:00 local time. Joan Mir did not start GP of Austria last August from first: we all know how it ended…
#36 Joan MIR – 2nd (2’15.631):
“I’m really happy, at the beginning of the season I would have been happy for the first row here! CoTA has never been among my favourite circuits. Yet today we have made a great step forward, but the important thing is tomorrow: we will have to find a good rhythm right now and try to make a good race!”
#11 Livio LOI – 16th (2’16.753):
“The day did not go so bad. In the first session we made a big step forward. We continued in the right direction and saw progress in qualifying this afternoon. Too bad I could not make a quicker lap, because I have the opportunity to stay with the first group. Tomorrow we will have to fight: I am ready to give the best!”
Moto3™ Qualifying Classification – Circuit of the Americas (CoTA):
1 – A. Canet / SPA / Estrella Galicia / Honda / 2’14.644
2 – J. Mir / SPA / Leopard Racing / Honda / 2’15.631 / +0.987
3 – R. Fenati / ITA / Marinelli Rivalcold / Honda / 2’15.641 / +0.997
16 – L. Loi / BEL / Leopard Racing / Honda / 2’16.753 / +2.109
Moto3™ Schedule (Local Time, GMT -5):
Sunday, April 23rd:
08:40-09:00 – WarmUp
11:00 (18 Laps) – Race
Photo credit: Leopard Racing