moto3 / Mir confirmed as the ‘Lord of the Ring’, Loi in the podium mix
If this race were a painting, it would be framed by the Leopard Racing team to commemorate the domination of the Red Bull Ring thanks to Joan Mir’s victory and Livio Loi’s podium challenge, the creator of a great comeback. For Mir it was a seventh win in 11 races, his third in a row as he becomes the undisputed leader of the Moto3 class.
At 11:00 local time, the lights of the Red Bull Ring, the 11th round of the 2017 season, went out. After the rain of recent days, the grid was kissed by sun and both Joan Mir and Livio Loi launched from the fourth row after having some of their best times cut in Qualifying for exceeding track limits. The penalty did not bother the Leopard Racing Team, confident of the feeling and rhythm highlighted throughout the Austrian weekend and confirmed in the bright Warm Up in the morning.
A slowish start due to the heavy traffic forced the two riders to lose a couple of positions in the first lap, but they soon locked themselves in the hunt for the head of the race. The talent of Palma de Mallorca put his head down to overcame all his opponents with an impressive array of passes to take command: from tenth to first in just 5 laps.
Behind him four riders sat closely, seemingly playing power with the situation, while his team-mate Livio Loi, who was 18th on the first lap, arrived in the top ten with flying speed. In the middle of the race, Joan Mir tried to stretch but the group recovered and as Loi made his way to seventh. Meanwhile from the back, Wildcard Jaume Masia attracted the attentions of everyone as he found himself in second, the first of Mir’s pursuers.
On the 15th lap, Antonelli and Migno ended their race off track, while McPhee and Bendsneyder were victims of contact at Turn 1. In the last five lap, Livio Loi moved himself onto the virtual podium in third place. The Belgian tried to capture Germany’s Oettl, but contact with Rodrigo saw him lose ground; Loi did not relent and retrieved the position, having only to give the third step of the podium to Spain’s Martin.
Joan Mir extended his advantage and crossed the line of the Grand Prix of Austria 2017 alone, taking his seventh win of the season in 11 rounds, his third consecutive after the successes of Germany and the Czech Republic. Palma de Mallorca’s talent climbs to 215 points in the rankings and increases his lead to 64 points. But most of all, Joan Mir showed the whole world, exactly 1 year after his first career win, his growth and maturity. Now the undisputed leader of the Moto3 category.
#36 Joan MIR – 1st:
“It was a very hard race, but I wanted to win it! Throughout the weekend we worked very well with the team. In fact on this circuit we knew we had something more than the opponents and we saw today in the race! Departing from tenth I was worried a bit, but after the terrible start I had, I gave my best to recover. I did not want to be in the group because in this category it is always a risk. When I was in the lead and saw my advantage at just 0.5s I said it was time to push more and open the gap to everyone else. Before I was a patient pilot, this year I learned so many things, even to reason and handle delicate situations like this. My strongest point on this circuit was the braking. 64 points are so many, almost three races! It’s a pity that we still have lots of other races [laughs]. Seriously, I’m sure I’m looking at the rankings but I do not want to make calculations. We have to stay with our feet on the ground and try to always go to points.”
#11 Livio LOI – 4th:
“It was a great race, although the start was very difficult, losing positions and finding myself 18th in the first lap. From that moment on I began to attack, pushing further and further, with a great sense of motion. I came to the group before, but on the penultimate lap I was touched and lost ground. Even then I recovered, but the last lap was a lottery: I tried to take Oettl, but Martin went in the slipstream. I heartily thank the whole team.”
Moto3™ Race – Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich 2017:
1 – Joan MIR / SPA / Leopard Racing / Honda / 23 Laps
2 – Philipp Oettl / GER / Sudmetall Schedl GP / KTM / +3.045
3 – Jorge Martin / SPA / Del Conca Gresini / Honda / +3.377
4 – Livio Loi / BEL / Leopard Racing / Honda / +3.385
Moto3™ World Standing 2017:
1 – Joan MIR 215
2 – Romano Fenati 151
3 – Aron Canet 137
4 – Jorge Martin 105
15 – Livio LOI 37
Photo credit: Leopard Racing