VALENCIA, Spain – Joan Mir scored an important victory in his quest for the MotoGP championship Sunday, holding off Suzuki teammate Alex Rins to win the European Grand Prix at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
The victory, combined with a crash by Petronas Yamaha SRT rider Fabio Quartararo, has given Mir a 37-point edge in the MotoGP standings with two races left in the season.
Rins launched into the lead at the start of the race, with Pol Espargaro following him into turn one. Mir was up to fourth in the first turn, while Quartararo went from 11th to eighth. However, Quartararo’s day was about to go horribly wrong.
Heading into turn eight, Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro slid into the the gravel trap in two separate incidents. Quartararo was able to remount and continue, but he was well behind the rest of the field.
At the front, Pol Espargaro led the first lap before giving up the lead to Rins on lap two. Soon he would be followed by his teammate Mir, who dispatched Pol Espargaro to move into second.
With 11 laps left Mir made his move, sweeping past Rins to take the lead in turn 11. Now the leader, Mir slowly edged away from Rins over the final 10 laps. At the checkered flag he beat his Suzuki teammate by .651 seconds to earn his first victory of the year amid the intense MotoGP title fight.
Rins settled for second, but he now sits tied with Quartararo, who finished 14th, for second in the MotoGP standings with two races left. The pair sit 37 points behind Mir.
Pol Espargaro was third for Red Bull KTM, with Takaaki Nakagami finishing fifth for LCR Honda.