Mir earns first MotoGP win in Valencia as title nears

Valencia (Spain) (AFP) –


Spain's Joan Mir won Sunday's European MotoGP in Valencia on Sunday, his first victory in the premier category, to increase his lead in the world championship to 37 points with just two races left.

Mir took advantage of title rival Fabio Quartararo's first-lap crash while compatriot Alex Rins ensured a one-two finish for Suzuki, the first for the Japanese manufacturer since 1982.

Frenchman Quartararo recovered to trail home in 14th but saw his championship hopes suffer a huge blow. He is level on 125 points with Rins after losing considerable ground on Mir, who is top on 162.

"I'm super happy. I was missing a victory and it came at the perfect moment," said the 23-year-old Mir, the Moto3 champion in 2017.

Pol Espargaro of KTM, who started the race on pole, came third ahead of Japan's Takaaki Nakagami of the Honda-LCR team.