Leopard Racing’s Joan Mir is the 2017 Moto3 World Champion, taking the crown at Phillip Island after a stunning year that his seen him take nine wins so far. Mir, from Majorca, began in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and was runner up in 2014 behind Jorge Martin, before moving up to the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship for 2015.
Fourth in the standings that season as he competed with the Leopard Racing junior programme, Mir was on the podium in each of the races he finished with the exception of being crashed out in Valencia – ending the year only 36 points off Nicolo Bulega’s title-winning tally.
At the same time, the Leopard Racing team called Mir up for duty in the World Championship as an injury replacement for Hiroki Ono in Australia. Qualifying in fifteenth and then fighting for sixth in close company with teammate Danny Kent – who would go on to take the crown – the Majorcan crashed out but had already made an impression.
Mir then readied himself to line up full time for the first time in 2016. Hitting the ground running, the Spaniard’s first win was a stunning performance from pole in Austria – an impressive feat followed by two further podiums in Misano and Valencia. Mir was fifth overall, and took the title of Rookie of the Year.
At the beginning of 2017, the Majorcan’s Leopard Racing team switched from KTM to Honda machinery, and Mir took the victory in the season opener in Qatar and the second race of the season in Argentina. Texas was his worst result in the first half of the year when he came eighth, but Mir bounced back on home turf at Jerez to take third, only a tenth off the win – and was quickly back on the top step at Le Mans.
He won again at the Catalan GP before stringing together wins at Sachsenring, Brno and Austria. Silverstone was a more difficult race and he lost some ground to key rival Aron Canet, before a calm ride in the rain to second at Misano. Aragon saw him back on top, setting him up perfectly with his first chance at the title at Motegi. In torrential conditions, the tale took a twist as key rival Romano Fenati took the win – and Mir didn’t score, coming home in P17. But at Phillip Island it was a different story, as the Majorcan took his ninth win of the year and his tenth overall to equal Fenati on all-time wins – and take the 2017 crown in style.
Date of birth: 1st September 1997
Place of birth: Palma de Majorca, Spain
First GP: Phillip Island 2015, Moto3
First pole position: Red Bull Ring 2016, Moto3
First podium: Red Bull Ring 2016, Moto3
First victory: Red Bull Ring 2016, Moto3
Pole positions : 1
Fastest laps: 5
Titles: Moto3 (2017)
World Championship career
2015: FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship — KTM, 4th
2015: Moto3 World Championship — Honda, 1 race
2016: Moto3 World Championship — KTM, 5th, 18 starts, 144 points
2017: Moto3 World Championship — World Champion — Honda, 16 starts, 296 points