moto3 / The 10th pearl of Joan Mir
The 2017 World Champion wins the Malaysia Grand Prix, taking his tenth win of the season. The competitiveness of the Leopard Racing Team is also confirmed by the 4th place for Livio Loi. The whole facility dedicates today’s success to the late Stefan Kiefer, who suddenly died.
In spite of the weather forecasts, even today was sun kissed at the 5.5 Km of the Sepang International Circuit, host to the Malysian GP, the penultimate round of the 2017 season. A year dominated by the Leopard Racing Team in Moto3. After winning the world title last week at Phillip Island, Joan Mir showed up this weekend to honor this extraordinary season by winning, dominating Free Practice, Qualifying and Warm Up. The morning was also beneficial for his team-mate Livio Loi, who launched from the third row galvanized from the podium 7 days ago.
At the start Martin was running away but the two Leopard Racing blue Hondas passed Bendsneyder’s KTM soon and immediately went in pursuit of the Spaniard at the end of the first lap. Contact between Fenati and Suzuki, with the latter falling, allowed the group to break up slightly. On the third lap Bastianini found his way between Mir and Loi who try to close the 1.8s gap. Behind them, a long train of 16 riders is formed, enclosed by less than 5 “. On the sixth lap, Joan Mir managed to shake the chasing group to eat tenth precious to Martin.
Meanwhile, the local hero Norrodin fell and Livio Loi gained the 4th position and began to manage this margin of advantage. Two laps later, Majorca’s talent decides that enough was enough and began to harass his compatriot, taking command of the race. At the top stands Bastianini, the lead changing frequently as the race went on. At 2/3 of the race, a three-legged battle for the final win. Joan Mir takes the lead again by taking an advantage thanks to a contact between Bastianini and Martin.
Joan Mir wins his tenth race of the season, consolidating the overall record of wins in the Moto3 class, equalizing Marc Marquez’s 2010 score in 125cc and only one win from Valentino Rossi’s record (11 wins). The Leopard Racing Team raises the positive series of claims in its young but successful race history and can also celebrate the fourth place of Belgian Livio Loi, who thanks to the 4th place in today’s race moves to 12th place with 80 points in the championship table. His best season. The whole Leopard Racing structure is tightening around the Kiefer family and dedicating today’s victory to Sepang to our friend Stefan.
#36 Joan MIR – 1st:
“It was a really tough race for the heat, on the limit! In the first laps I touched some opponents while Jorge [Martin] started to push and open a gap. Then I improved the feeling with the tyres and I started to recover previous tenths. After taking it, I tried to manage the tyres because it was impossible to get to the top with that rhythm. In the last laps, I got back and I turned very hard to get to the finish line! I have never looked at the numbers or records of other riders, even in this race, and I will probably do the same for the next: I will only think of having fun on the bike! Even if I did not win today, it would not be a problem; it is not my goal; but I also think that winning is the best way to honor a world title. Finally, I want to dedicate this victory to Stefan Kiefer: he was my first team manager at CEV 2015. A hug to all his family.”
#11 Livio LOI – 4th:
“The race was very hot. Too bad for this I could have struggled for the podium myself too.”
Miodrag Kotur, COO Leopard Racing:
“We are happy for today’s victory, because we have honored the world title in full. And that’s why we want to dedicate this success to Stefan Kiefer: we entered the championship with him in 2015 by winning the first World Championship; he was not only a great professional but also an exceptional person and a true friend. We cling to our prayers with his family.”
Moto3™ Race – Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2017:
1 – Joan MIR / SPA / Leopard Racing / Honda / 18 Laps
2 – Jorge Martin / SPA / Del Conca Gresini / Honda / +0.724
3 – Enea Bastianini / ITA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / Honda / +0.763
4 – Livio Loi / BEL / Leopard Racing / Honda / +6.868
Moto3™ World Standing 2017:
1 – Joan MIR 321
2 – Romano Fenati 235
3 – Aron Canet 192
4 – Jorge Martin 171
12 – Livio LOI 80
Photo credit: Leopard Racing