Antonelli Beats Binder in Qatar Photo Finish

Niccolo Antonelli made a winning start to the 2016 Moto3 season at Losail after beating Brad Binder in a drag race to the finish line. Binder led for large periods of a fascinating race but Antonelli demonstrated the value of a slipstream on the long run to the chequered flag, pipping the South African by seven thousandths of a second.

Having taken pole position, Romano Fenati was among the pre-race favourites and the Italian would regularly lead into turn one with his Sky VR46 KTM looking the strongest down the start/finish straight. The no.5 was eased aside by Binder at the start of the penultimate lap but at this stage, Antonelli was lurking towards the back of the seven-rider leading group.

The Ongetta-Rivacold rider climbed from sixth to fifth with a dive up the inside of Nicolo Bulega at turn six before a sensational move around the outside of turn twelve saw Jorge Navarro and Francesco Bagnaia brushed aside. Just Fenati and Binder stood between Antonelli and the lead but Fenati took himself out of contention by outbraking himself into turn one on the last lap, costing him four places.

With no way through around the rest of the final lap, Antonelli’s last chance was a slipstreaming duel out of the final corner and the Italian judged it to perfection, edging ahead of Binder’s KTM within metres of the line to claim his third career victory, denying Binder his first. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was forced to settle for second ahead of the impressive Bagnaia who gave Mahindra an unlikely podium finish in third.

Fenati benefitted from a final corner clash between Navarro and Bulega to salvage fourth with Enea Bastianini taking fifth in the drag race to the chequered flag. Bulega fell to sixth but impressed many by leading his debut GP while Navarro will be disappointed with seventh. Livio Loi’s practice pace didn’t quite materialise in the race as he finished down in eighth while Philipp Oettl and Jakub Kornfeil rounded out the top ten.


Moto3 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar (Race Result)

123. Niccolo AntonelliHondaOngetta-Rivacold38:12.16125
241. Brad BinderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+0.00720
321. Francesco BagnaiaMahindraASPAR MAHINDRA Team Moto3+0.14816
45. Romano FenatiKTMSky Racing Team VR46+0.43513
533. Enea BastianiniHondaGresini Racing Moto3+0.60611
68. Nicolo BulegaKTMSky Racing Team VR46+0.62510
79. Jorge NavarroHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0+0.6749
811. Livio LoiHondaRW Racing GP BV+1.7108
965. Philipp OettlKTMSchedl GP Racing+8.6117
1084. Jakub KornfeilHondaDrive M7 SIC Racing Team+10.9476
1195. Jules DaniloHondaOngetta-Rivacold+12.3795
1236. Joan MirKTMLeopard Racing+12.3804
1320. Fabio QuartararoKTMLeopard Racing+12.4013
1464. Bo BendsneyderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+12.7262
1544. Aron CanetHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0+12.7841
166. Maria HerreraKTMTeam Laglisse+12.939
1716. Andrea MignoKTMSky Racing Team VR46+17.152
1876. Hiroki OnoHondaHonda Team Asia+17.367
1919. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA Racing Team+17.451
207. Adam NorrodinHondaDrive M7 SIC Racing Team+17.519
2155. Andrea LocatelliKTMLeopard Racing+17.566
2289. Khairul Idham PawiHondaHonda Team Asia+17.608
2340. Darryn BinderMahindraPlatinum Bay Real Estate+31.939
2410. Alexis MasbouPeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint+31.949
2558. Juanfran GuevaraKTMRBA Racing Team+32.120
264. Fabio di GiannantonioHondaGresini Racing Moto3+32.333
2717. John McPheePeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint+32.547
2824. Tatsuki SuzukiMahindraCIP-Unicom Starker+32.812
2943. Stefano ValtuliniMahindra3570 Team Italia+34.584
3098. Karel HanikaMahindraPlatinum Bay Real Estate+59.105
3177. Lorenzo PetrarcaMahindra3570 Team Italia+59.109
323. Fabio SpiranelliMahindraCIP-Unicom Starker+1:34.948
NC88. Jorge MartinMahindraASPAR MAHINDRA Team Moto3+1 Lap