Brad Binder came back from 22nd to win the Valencia Grand Prix in an extraordinary finish to his championship-winning campaign. The South African looked to have fallen out of contention when his engine cut out on lap two, dropping him five seconds off the lead, but the world champion produced a staggering comeback to beat rookie-of-the-year Joan Mir.
All eyes were on another rookie at the start of the race but polesitter Aron Canet’s dream quickly turned into a nightmare when he stalled his Honda on the grid. The local rider was subsequently pushed off the grid, leaving Mir to take up the early running ahead of Andrea Migno and the Gresini teammates Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio.
Binder had been part of that leading group but the engine of his Red Bull Ajo KTM appeared to cut out on lap two, forcing him to pull off the racing line. The world champion soon picked up the pace again as his machine returned to full health but he was now five seconds off the lead in 22nd, leaving him with a mountain to climb.
Within four laps, five of those positions had been reclaimed and at the end of lap nine, Brad was into the top ten and embroiled in the chase group which were steadily closing on the leaders. Mir’s spell in front was broken at half distance as Migno motored past on the home straight but Binder was now a genuine threat again having clawed his way up to fifth, passing Jakub Kornfeil.
The comeback looked to be complete with four laps to go when Binder scythed past Migno for the lead but a mistake at turn two dropped him back to fourth again. The champion made a mockery of the challenge facing him though and a last lap move on Mir, coupled with a mistake from Migno, saw him close out the year with a seventh GP win.
Mir’s second place saw him clinch the rookies title, thanks in part to a pre-race grid penalty which relegated Nicolo Bulega out of point-scoring contention. Migno took the last podium spot ahead of Bastianini and Di Giannantonio while Juanfran Guevara got the better of Kornfeil for sixth. Philipp Oettl was eighth ahead of Jorge Navarro whose slim hopes of finishing as championship runner-up disappeared while Jorge Martin completed the top ten.
Moto3 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana (Race Result)
|1||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||40:13.777||25|
|2||36. Joan Mir||KTM||Leopard Racing||+0.056||20|
|3||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+0.081||16|
|4||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||+0.147||13|
|5||4. Fabio Di Giannantonio||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||+0.713||11|
|6||58. Juanfran Guevara||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+0.899||10|
|7||84. Jakub Kornfeil||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+2.683||9|
|8||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||+3.145||8|
|9||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+5.263||7|
|10||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra||+7.921||6|
|11||31. Raul Fernandez||KTM||MH6 Team||+8.081||5|
|12||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||+8.250||4|
|13||64. Bo Bendsneyder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+8.603||3|
|14||20. Fabio Quartararo||KTM||Leopard Racing||+9.293||2|
|15||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP BV||+9.358||1|
|16||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+9.527|
|17||8. Nicolo Bulega||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+9.652|
|18||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||+9.950|
|19||44. Aron Canet||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+16.838|
|20||55. Andrea Locatelli||KTM||Leopard Racing||+18.712|
|21||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Honda Team Asia||+18.737|
|22||98. Karel Hanika||KTM||Freudenberg Racing Team||+18.976|
|23||63. Vicente Perez||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||+19.039|
|24||12. Albert Arenas||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||+24.297|
|25||89. Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda||Honda Team Asia||+24.526|
|26||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+25.331|
|27||7. Adam Norrodin||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+25.370|
|28||77. Lorenzo Petrarca||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||+48.829|
|29||26. Dani Saez||KTM||GA Competicion||+48.861|
|30||99. Enzo Boulom||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||+49.282|
|31||43. Stefano Valtulini||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||+1:12.409|
|NC||42. Marcos Ramirez||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||+17 Laps|
|NC||48. Lorenzo Dalla Porta||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+21 Laps|
|NC||19. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+24 Laps|
|NC||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra||+24 Laps|