Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) is the 2017 Moto3™ World Champion after winning his ninth race of the season in the Australian GP, equaling another record on the way to taking the crown in a closely fought race that was Red Flagged as the weather came in. Teammate Livio Loi followed him over the line in second as he took an impressive podium on the comeback from injury, with polesitter Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) completing the top three.
Off the line it was Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) who got through Turn 1 first, before Jorge Martin fought back – and the battle began. With a long freight train at the front, the racing was hard but fair, and the slipstream down the Gardner Straight created some spectacular side-by-side action into Turn 1. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was the first to fall out of contention from the leaders, before Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team) and Jules Danilo (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) had different incidents to lose out – leaving a group of eight riders fighting it out: Rodrigo, Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate), Loi, Mir, Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), rookie Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) and teammate Adam Norrodin.
Fenati – fighting to keep his title hopes alive – took his turn at the front for a number of laps, before key rival Mir began to make his move. Shuffling into Turn 1 then saw another name fall from the fight at the front, with Martin and Ramirez getting a little too close for comfort and the Platinum Bay Real Estate rider forced wide – and then going down.
Back at the front, Mir was pushing on. Making it to the front and then pushing to try and break free of the slipstream, the Majorcan was able to keep just ahead of the game for a number of laps – until some spots of rain started to appear. Suddenly, the heavens opened – and with 2/3 race distance done, the Red Flag that came out marked the end of the race.
The result was counted back to the last full lap completed by the entirety of the field – and across the line, it was the Championship leader who had been in first. Initially unaware as the grid slowed and the Majorcan looked to the screens around the track for confirmation, Mir then realised he’d gone from World Champion elect to 2017 Moto3™ World Champion in taking the tenth win of his career and once more becoming the Moto3™ rider with the most wins - equal with Fenati.
The good news didn’t stop there for Leopard Racing, as the new World Champion’s teammate Livio Loi crossed the line in second for his second ever rostrum finish – and from outside the top twenty on the grid, with Martin completing the podium. Gabriel Rodrigo equaled his best ever result in P4, ahead of Enea Bastianini and Romano Fenati.
Seventh was a stunning best yet from Japanese rookie Ayumu Sasaki as the former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and Asia Talent Cup winner had a stealthy ride within the front group, coming home ahead of teammate Adam Norrodin. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took ninth, with Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Aspar Mahindra Moto3) completing the top ten.
Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) had an impressive comeback from far down the field to come over the line in eleventh and only 0.031 off Dalla Porta, ahead of Jakub Kornfeil (Peugeot MC Saxoprint), Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing), Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Manuel Pagliani (CIP).
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Two races remain for Mir to break more records before he moves up to Moto2™ for 2018 – with the next stop Malaysia.