Joan Mir tightened his grip on the 2017 Moto3 World Championship standings after a dominant Austrian Grand Prix win.
The Spaniard, who now equals Brad Binder’s total of seven wins in a single Moto3 season, leads Romano Fenati by a massive 64 points with seven rounds remaining in 2017.
Mir’s fight through to victory was a complicated one in the opening laps, the Leopard rider dicing with championship rival Fenati over 12th spot. At the front, pole man Gabriel Rodrigo had taken the holeshot, but was passed by John McPhee into the third corner.
The Scotsman’s time at the front was short-lived, however, with Rodrigo and KTM rider Bo Bendsneyder swooping through at the end of the opening lap.
The lead changed hands several times over the next few laps, with Mir moving to the front of the field by the sixth tour.
The chasing group was able to keep the Spaniard 0.5 seconds ahead, but the gap soon opened out as the battle for the final podium places heated up.
At the chequered flag, Mir had opened out a lead of over three seconds, with Philipp Oettl winning the battle for second for his first podium since the 2015 Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Jorge Martin, who is still in a considerable amount of pain from a heel injury sustained at the Sachsenring, heroically completed the podium by just 0.008s from Livio Loi.
Aron Canet put on a late charge for a place on the rostrum, but had to settle for fifth in the end ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio and Rodrigo.
Juame Masia ended his grand prix debut a fine ninth. The 16-year-old Spaniard replaced the injured Darryn Binder at the Platinum Bay team, and ran as high as second at on stage before running out of steam in the closing stages.
Masia trailed Adam Norrodin, while Enea Bastianini’s early charge for the podium ended with a lowly 10th. Nicolo Bulega recovered to 11th after another dismal start ahead of Marcos Ramirez and Fenati, who had to fight through the pack again after a mistake at Turn 3 on the third lap.
Juanfran Guevara slipped from the front row to 14th at the finish, with Kaito Toba rounding out the points paying positions.
McPhee’s charge was halted at the start of the 16th lap after Bendsneyder slammed into the back of him at Turn 1. Andrea Migno’s podium hopes also ended at Turn 1 when he slid off while running second.
Marco Bezzechi and Albert Arenas were late fallers, as was Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, while Tatsuki Suzuki collided with Niccolo Antonelli at the penultimate corner on lap 14, taking both out on the spot.