The Leopard Racing team today announced that they have signed Joan Mir to race for them in Moto3 in 2016. The 18-year-old Spaniard is currently racing in the FIM CEV series, the former Spanish championship, for the Leopard Racing junior team, and has impressed in the class winning two races already this season. Before switching to the CEV, Mir raced in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, where he was regarded as one of the stronger competitors.
With Mir moving up to Moto3, it is looking increasingly likely that the Leopard Racing team will expand their program to move up to Moto2. Current Moto3 championship leader Danny Kent has expressed an interest in returning to Moto2, but only wishes to do so with a strong team. The Leopard Racing team run by Stefan Kiefer has proved to be exactly that, and if the team can move up as a unit, then Kent should have a better shot at handling the transition than during his first attempt with the Tech 3 squad. Familiar surroundings and a strong bike package would make Kent competitive.
The switch to Moto2 is still a long way from being confirmed. At the moment, the budget for 2016 is under discussion, any decision can only be taken once funding for the project has been decided.
Below is the press release issued by Leopard Racing announcing the signing of Joan Mir:
LEOPARD RACING TO SIGN JOAN MIR FOR 2016
Leopard Racing signed an agreement with Joan Mir to bring the young talented Spanish rider to World Championship series from the 2016 season on.
18 years young Palma de Mallorca born rider Joan Mir Mayrata is already part of Leopard Racing’s junior programme competing in the FIM CEV Repsol Junior World Championship this year. He will make his step to the World Championship level next year.
Mir, a former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup participant, currently in fourth position in this year’s campaign with two race wins to his hands in Portimao and Barcelona last time. In doing so, he underlined very impressively his talent and speed aboard a Moto3 race bike according to Grand Prix racing regulations.
#36 Joan MIR:
"A dream becomes true today when we put pen on paper together. I’m really proud because this agreement sees my step up to the World Championship level from next year on. I’m very grateful to Leopard Racing that they give me this awesome opportunity. I’ll try and do my best to prove as a real contender in this highly competitive category in Grand Prix Racing. But first, I want to fulfil my task in the Moto 3 Junior World Championship this year."
Miodrag KOTUR (Leopard Racing):
“Joan has been the team’s rider as Leopard Racing is currently supporting him with the Machado Leopard Junior Team. He is a rider that matches very well with our philosophy. He has enjoyed success in the junior series and with the support and experience we can offer him, we are confident that he has a great future with our Leopard Racing Team. We are happy to guide the youngsters to achieve the high level of our sport. As for our other riders, we want to put Joan in the best possible conditions to reach his MotoGP goals."