Dominant 2017 Moto3 world champion Joan Mir has stamped his authority on the lightweight class for the penultimate time at the Malaysian Grand Prix, taking victory over Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini – and even managing to make the win look easy on the Leopard Honda.
The new champion, crowned last time out in Australia, let Mr Pole Positon Jorge Martin make an early break in the race, before he and Bastianini hunted him down in the second half of the race to set up a textbook victory over his fellow Spaniards in the closing stages of the race.
“It was a really tough race for the heat, on the limit! In the first laps I touched some opponents while Jorge 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 honour a world title. Finally, I want to dedicate this victory to Stefan Kiefer; he was my first team manager in the CEV in 2015. A hug to all his family.”
Teammate Livio Loi rode a lonely race to fourth ahead of a battle for fifth won on the final lap by Brit John McPhee, rallying back from an earlier off-track excursion caused by Niccolo Antonelli crashing out in front of him.
Picking his way through the field, he was able to pick off Andrea Migno, Romano Fenati, Aron Canet and Fabio Di Giannantonio on the run to the line, with Bo Bendsneyder rounding out the top ten.