Mir wins 1st MotoGP race to extend championship lead

CHESTE, Spain (AP) — Joan Mir won the Grand Prix of Europe for his first MotoGP victory on Sunday, extending his points lead with two races to go in the championship.

Mir, who started fifth on the grid, earned his maiden victory after making a pass for the lead over fellow Suzuki rider Álex Rins with 11 laps to go at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit.

“I’m supper happy. This is what I was missing,” Mir said. “I think that this came at the perfect moment.”

The win allowed the Spaniard to open a 37-point gap to Rins and Fabio Quartararo, who finish 14th after crashing on the first lap.

Maverick Viñales, who started from the pits after being penalized for changing an engine, finished 13th. He is fourth in the standings, 41 points behind Mir.

The next race will be at the Ricardo Tormo track again next weekend, with the season-finale taking place in Portugal in two weeks.

Rins said a mistake changing gears forced him to run long at a corner and allow Mir to make the pass for the lead.

Pole sitter Pol Espargaró fell off the pace early and finished third. Valentino Rossi did not finish because of a mechanical failure.

Mir, who celebrated by flying the Spanish flag on his victory lap, was the ninth different winner in 12 races this season, and the fifth first-time winner. Six-time champion Marc Márquez is not racing because of an injury.

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