Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) has all-but dominated the 2017 Moto3™ World Championship, with eight wins over the course of the season so far giving him a first chance at clinching the title this weekend at the Twin Ring Motegi.
There is, however, one area where Mir has not taken the top step: Qualifying. The 20-year-old has consistently been bettered over the course of a single lap on Saturday, lining up as second-best four times throughout the year. At Motegi he can't start from pole either, as the Majorcan will serve a six-place grid penalty given to him at Aragon.
If he takes the title this weekend at the Twin Ring Motegi, he will be the first rider ever to become Moto3™ World Champion without achieving pole position in his winning year, and the first in the lightweight class since Angel Nieto in 1984, Loris Capirossi in 1990 and, most recently, Emilio Alzamora in 1999.
The term ‘Sunday Man’ has been used a great deal to describe Mir this season, indicating that his skills - especially in the final stages of a race - are his ace. Given that six out of his eight triumphs in 2017 have been decided on the last lap, it’s a phrase that rings true thus far.