Brad Binder ended his wait for a first Grand Prix victory in extraordinary fashion, charging through from the back of the grid to win at Jerez. The South African was controversially relegated from the front row to the back row after running illegal mapping in qualifying but showed blistering race pace to catch the leading group before storming past late on.
News of Binder’s penalty broke just minutes before the start of the race but he wasn’t the only favourite to encounter problems before leaving the start line, Niccolo Antonelli stalling his Ongetta Honda on the second row and being forced to join the back of the field from the pitlane on lap one. Despite all the mayhem around him, rookie polesitter Nicolo Bulega stayed calm to join a leading group of three along with Jorge Navarro and Francesco Bagnaia.
The top three quickly gapped the chase group led by Romano Fenati on the second Sky VR46 KTM but crucially, Binder had managed to latch onto the second pack of riders after some aggressive overtaking on the opening laps. By lap eight, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider had scythed his way through the group into fourth but 3.8s separated him from the leading trio, a seemingly insurmountable gap.
Brad’s blistering practice pace reappeared at the perfect time though as the championship leader reeled off a succession of laps in the 1:47s range. Navarro, Bagnaia and Bulega, unable to break out of the 1:48s, were swallowed up in double quick time and with nine laps remaining, the polesitter was relegated to fourth by the man who had started 34 spots behind him.
Binder wasn’t finished and a mistake by Bagnaia at turn one promoted him to second moments later and once he had outbraked Navarro at the Dry Sac hairpin, the outcome of the race looked in very little doubt. With so much more pace than his rivals, Brad stormed off into the distance and crossed the line three seconds clear to claim a long-overdue first win.
The three riders that previously disputed the lead fought out a thrilling last lap battle for second with Bulega taking the honours after a brave move on Bagnaia at the last corner. Navarro fell to fourth, losing crucial ground to Binder in the championship, while Fenati also saw valuable points slip away after Jakub Kornfeil and Joan Mir demoted him to seventh.
Enea Bastianini finished a disappointing eighth while Antonelli’s morning didn’t pick up after his issues on the dummy grid, the Qatar GP winner crashing out before making it into the points.
Moto3 Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana (Race Result)
[table id=1020 /]