Joan Mir seals MotoGP world title in Valencia
Suzuki rider is Japanese team’s first world champion in two decades
Bengaluru — Suzuki rider Joan Mir clinched his maiden MotoGP crown and became the Japanese team’s first world champion in two decades with a seventh-placed finish at the Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday.
Mir began the race with a 37-point lead over his closest challengers Fabio Quartararo of Petronas Yamaha and Suzuki teammate Alex Rins, and secured a fourth successive top-10 finish from 12th on the grid to emulate American Kenny Roberts Jr, who won the riders’ championship for Suzuki in 2000.
With one race to go, Mir has an unassailable 29-point lead over Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli, who withstood a spirited challenge from Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller to seal his third victory of the season.
Pol Espargaro of KTM completed the podium.
Rins, who qualified in 14th, stormed out of the blocks to make up seven spots in the first two laps as he battled to keep his title hopes alive. But the Spaniard managed only a fourth-place finish, leaving him 33 points behind Mir.
Quartararo’s title challenge ended with a whimper as the Frenchman crashed out of the race on lap nine after starting from 11th.
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