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9 days ago

Mir takes incredible rookie win in Austrian thriller

Leopard Racing rookie converts pole into a maiden victory as Moto3™ go to war

Highlights: Mir takes maiden win in Moto3™ thriller

Spanish rookie Joan Mir has taken a stunning victory at the Red Bull Ring as the Leopard Racing rider outfoxed the veterans of the Moto3™ grid to cross the line first, for his first win. Second was Championship leader Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who increased his points lead, ahead of Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) – who beat French rival Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) over the line by just eight thousandths of a second to complete the podium.

Mir: "How can I say? This is amazing!"

Joan Mir - who has moved onto the world stage for the first time in 2016 from impressive, race-winning performances in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship – took an impressive pole position on Saturday to deny Brad Binder the top spot, and got a good start from pole to join the lead, breakway group of five. Staying cool under pressure, the rookie played a perfect hand on the last lap and crossed the line comfortably clear of nearest rival Binder.

Binder: "I struggled a lot"

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) got the holeshot from P2 on the grid as the championship leader stayed calm under pressure off the line, and seemed the man to beat both in the race and over the weekend. Getting caught up in the battle behind, Binder wasn’t quite able to close on Mir in the final few corners to be close enough to make a move for the win – instead crossing the line P2 to take another big haul of championship points as he gets closer to the crown.

Bastianini: "I did a mistake in the last lap"

Bastianini made a great start from the front row and was in the lead at the end of Lap 1, showing a fantastic return to form after a more difficult 2016 before the summer break. The Italian, who until Mir’s win had been the last rider in Moto3™ to take a victory from pole in Misano in 2015, just beat Leopard Racing’s Quartararo to the line in a last corner tussle and drag race – with the difference proving only 0.008 at the flag.

With no Romano Fenati on the grid following the Sky Racing Team VR46 team’s suspension of the Italian, Binder’s only real title rival on track was Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Jorge Navarro. After a difficult qualifying, the Spaniard fought back from 17th into the top 6 with some incredible laptimes, before taking a fall at Turn 3 and finding himself out of contention. Phillip Oettl (Schedl Racing) crossed the line in P5 after an impressive and aggressive race in the front group, with the second group headed by Jorge Martin (PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra Team) in P6, who beat Dutch rookie Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Fabio DiGiannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) over the line. The top ten was completed by Livio Loi (RW Racing GP BV).

Brad Binder’s title lead has now stretched yet further with no score for Navarro and a DNS for Fenati, with the South African edging closer and closer to the crown.

#AustrianGP: Moto3™ Full Race