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MotoGP Argentina: Mir leads McPhee in Moto3 scrap

Leopard Racing’s Joan Mir took his second Moto3 win in a row at the Argentine MotoGP round today but was pushed all the way by Scotland’s John McPhee with Jorge Martin in third as the trio completed a mirror image of the Qatar podium from two weeks ago.

Mir had to come through from 16th on the grid after a poor qualifying session but took only six laps to get into the lead as he dispensed with a gaggle of riders and it looked like he had the pace to make a break but McPhee and Martin had other ideas, upping their game to stay with the Spaniard.

“It was definitely an exciting race and well done to Joan because he rode a fantastic race the whole way through and set the pace – to be honest I wasn’t expecting the pace to be that fast all the way through, and he was the one doing the hard work. I knew I had the advantage on the brakes and I tried to line it up thinking maybe I could get a fast run in on him and do a block pass in the final turn, but he braked so late,” said McPhee.

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“I went in a bit too hot and both of us went a little bit wide – I was lucky to stay on and it’s good to get more points on the board. I’m a bit frustrated not to get the win but it’s a long season and we’ve got some really good points.”

McPhee started on pole - using the hard rear Dunlop - and was in the fight from the beginning along with Martin, Philipp Oettl and Andrea Migno - with the medium rear - as Mir fought his way through.

The front six swapped places time and again, with another six in close attendance and it wasn’t until Nico Bulega had a coming together with Di Giannantoni with nine laps to go that a break came. Bulega was given a two-second penalty for causing the crash.

Martin made an error on the brakes and clashed with Migno, and it looked like their battle for the podium was done as Mir, McPhee and Oettl got a gap. But that trio’s battling meant Martin and Migno were able to get back into the pack and make it a ten-wheeler again.

Mir just had the edge on the other four, though, taking a 0.261s win from McPhee who had just an 0.078s advantage over Martin in the final analysis. Oettl finished in fourth with a quarter of a second over Migno who was the only rider in the top five with the medium rear.

Livio Loi took sixth place on the second Leopard bike with Romano Fenati in seventh. Tatsuki Suzuki bagged eighth with Juanfran Guevara and Kaito Toba completing the top ten.

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