At 11 local time (20°C air / 28°C asphalt), the lights at Austin’s CoTA went out and the third race of the 2017 season began. Leopard Racing Team’s duo were located on the first row with Joan Mir, thanks to a last lap dash in Qualifying, while his team-mate Livio Loi opened the sixth row.
At start Mir remained glued to pole-setter Canet as Loi kept his position while wrestling with Oettl and Migno. On the second lap, Canet already had a one second advantage but it was all in vain as Japan’s Toba fell at Turn 14, causing Race Direction to bring out the red flag. A quick re-start race with only 12 laps.
Mir chased the lead once again, joined by the likes of Martin. Marinelli Rivacold’s Fenati began to duel with Canet for first place, while Mir grappled with the Del Conca Gresini duo and launched a chase of the two fugitives out the front.
The winner, who has already won on this track, eased away into the distance while a red-hot battle raged for the final two steps of the podium. Eight riders were involved in the hectic battle, all with 1.5 seconds. In the last laps Mir’s rear began to slip, forcing the Spaniard to give up positions in the heat of battle and crossed the line in eighth position; Livio Loi gritted his teeth to claim the last point of the day.
Joan Mir leaves Texas still at the top of the table with 58 points, but his opponents are very close. Jorge Martin (52 p.) is the only rider to climb on the podium this year at all rounds and Romano Fenati (45 p.) has found some of his old speed.
#36 Joan MIR – 8th:
“It was a very difficult race for me. We went off well but after a lap I felt grip problems. Throughout the weekend we never found a setup that pleased us. Such a pity! In the last laps I could not fight as I wanted because the rear wheel slipped a lot and I was really at the limit. This is the circuit I like the least on the calendar. I cannot wait to go to Jerez to fight like in the first two races.”
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