moto3 / Mir on the podium at Valencia and crowned the Rookie of the Year
The 19 year old from Palma de Mallorca was author to an amazing race and ended on the second step of the podium behind the Binder, the World Champion. With this result the Spanish rider takes the Rookie of the Year title in 2016. Quartararo and Locatelli ended respectively in 14th and 20th.
A masterful race for Joan Mir today in Valencia, conducted with tactical intelligence and tenacity, still fighting with a knife between his teeth for the first positions. He spent a good time out alone at the front of the race and was clearly confident. The 19-year old Mallorcan shot off at the start and was soon with the leaders. Then on the second lap he took command of operations until the seventh lap, when he was forced by Race Direction to yield a position for passing under yellow flags for another incident on track.
Soon Mir took over the leadership of the race and went about stretching half a second gap over his pursuers. World Champion Brad Binder was charging and rapidly approaching the front after an early race incident. Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo found himself in the middle of the points in conflict with Bulega as Andrea Locatelli loitered behind.
With 7 laps to Migno tried a new attack, followed by Binder, the two passing Mir. But Mir showed him impressive pace and level head to stay calm and respond. On the last lap the South African passed Mir on the straight and closed all the doors. Joan Mir settled for the second step of the podium, the third podium of the season and moved to fifth place in the standings with 144 points to end as Rookie of the Year.
His teammates Quartararo and Locatelli crossed the line in 14th and 20th position, concluding their experience in Leopard Racing team with 9th place overall in the standings in 2016 for the Italian (96 p.) and 13th for the French (83 p.).
#36 Joan MIR – 2nd
“I am very happy to end the season this way: I would not have said at the beginning of the year that I would end up fighting at every opportunity, winning one race and getting two podiums. I want to thank the whole team because they have worked hard on a bike that did not know. I can not wait to get on the new bike and to be competitive from the first race!”
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO – 14th
“It was a difficult race for me, from the beginning I did not feel at ease. Five laps from the end I noticed something wrong with the clutch and in the end it all has resulted in an engine problem. I want to say congratulations to Joan [Mir], he deserved this great result.”
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI – 20th
“I was hoping to do better, it was a difficult weekend. I would have liked to conclude my experience in Leopard Racing in a better way, but I’m happy for the 9th place overall. Now I expect a new bike and a new adventure. I wanted to thank everyone for the work done this season.”
Moto3™ Race – Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana 2016:
1 – Brad Binder / RSA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 24 laps
2 – Joan Mir / SPA / Leopard Racing / KTM / +0.056
3 – Andrea Migno / ITA / Sky Racing VR46 / KTM / +0.081
14 – Fabio Quartararo / FRA / Leopard Racing / KTM / +9.283
20 – Andrea Locatelli / ITA/ Leopard Racing / KTM / +18.712
Moto3™ World Standing 2016:
1 – Brad Binder 319
2 – Enea Bastianini 177
3 – Jorge Navarro 150
4 – Francesco Bagnaia 145
5 – Joan MIR 144
9 – Andrea LOCATELLI 96
13 – Fabio QUARTARARO 83
Photo credit: Leopard Racing