The first of the Moto2 moves for the 2018 season has been announced, and it should come as no surprise that it is championship leader Joan Mir who is moving up from Moto3 to Moto2. Mir will take one of the seats in the Estrella Galicia Marc VDS squad, aboard the team's Kalex Moto2 bikes. Mir was impressive last year on the Leopard Racing KTM, and since the team switched to Honda, has continued to impress.
Mir's signing opens speculation over whose seat he is expected to take in the Marc VDS Moto2 team. Franco Morbidelli looks set to move up to MotoGP in 2018, aboard either a Marc VDS Honda or possibly a Pramac Ducati, if Ducati offer Morbidelli a factory contract. Alex Marquez is also believed to be looking outside the Marc VDS team, though it is uncertain where the Spaniard would settle.
Below is the press release from the Marc VDS team:
Joan Mir to step up to Moto2 with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS are pleased to announce that they have agreed a three-year deal with Joan Mir that will see the Moto3 sensation step up to the Moto2 category in 2018.
Mir made an immediate impact on the Moto3 World Championship on his arrival in 2016, winning the Austrian Grand Prix on his way to finishing fifth in the championship and securing the Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season.
This year the Mallorcan has been the dominant force in Moto3, the most closely contested of all three Grand Prix classes.
Mir opened the 2017 season with back-to-back wins in Qatar and Argentina, following that up with a third place in Spain and another victory in France. It is this form that has given the 19-year-old a 34-point advantage at the top of the Moto3 World Championship standings after six of 18 races.
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"We've had our eye on Joan for quite some time, first in CEV and then in Moto3 when he made his debut in the World Championship. We saw right at the start of last year that he had the talent, drive and determination to be a championship contender and he's proved us right this season. I am looking forward to welcoming him into the team and I am confident that the combination of his talent and our technical staff will ensure a smooth and rapid transition from Moto3 championship contender to Moto2 frontrunner."
Marc van der Straten: President, Marc VDS Racing Team
"I am happy that we have secured a rider of Joan Mir's calibre for the future and I am proud that he chose us as the team with which to make his step up to the intermediate class. We are a results driven team and our track record shows that, but we are also a racing family and we value certain personal qualities as highly as we value performance. Having spoken with Joan this weekend, I am certain that we've made the right choice on all levels and I am looking forward to welcoming him to the Marc VDS family next season."