Brad Binder held off Joan Mir to win a thrilling Australian Grand Prix as the championship battle took a back-seat at Phillip Island. The South African claimed his third victory of the season for KTM while title challengers Miguel Oliveira and Francesco Bagnaia languished down in 11th and 12th respectively, moving the Sky VR46 rider a step closer to the crown.
For the pre-race favourites, the race unravelled immediately with Marcel Schrotter forced to give up his place on the middle of the front row when his Kalex wouldn’t start. The German was forced to start from the rear of the grid but Mattia Pasini, who had started at the very front, wouldn’t last much longer than a single lap, crashing out a turn four.
A leading group of eight was forming at the front, leaving Oliveira and Bagnaia trailing, but the pack would lose a key protagonist with three laps remaining as Lorenzo Baldassarri tumbled at MG. Binder chose this moment to attack, taking the lead from Xavi Vierge, and the South African rode an immaculate final lap to hold off the fast-closing Mir who stormed through to second.
The fight for the final rostrum position went all the way to the chequered flag with surprise challenger Augusto Fernandez becoming embroiled in a physical battle with Vierge. Ultimately, the slipstream out of the last corner saw Xavi prevail by eight thousandths of a second, although fourth was still a career-best result for the Pons rider.
Luca Marini was fifth ahead of Dominique Aegerter and Alex Marquez while Jesko Raffin rode a fine race to finish eighth. Despite his start-line drama, Marcel Schrotter produced a heroic ride to take ninth while Fabio Quartararo rounded out the top ten, just ahead of the under-par championship rivals.
Moto2 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Result)
|1||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||39:23.427|
|2||36. Joan Mir||Kalex||EG 0.0 Marc VDS||+0.036|
|3||97. Xavi Vierge||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+0.949|
|4||40. Augusto Fernandez||Kalex||Pons HP40||+0.957|
|5||10. Luca Marini||Kalex||Sky Racing Team VR46||+1.767|
|6||77. Dominique Aegerter||KTM||Kiefer Racing||+2.482|
|7||73. Alex Marquez||Kalex||EG 0.0 Marc VDS||+3.759|
|8||2. Jesko Raffin||Kalex||SAG Team||+4.850|
|9||23. Marcel Schrotter||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+6.250|
|10||20. Fabio Quartararo||Speed Up||MB Conveyors - Speed Up||+7.453|
|11||44. Miguel Oliveira||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+8.675|
|12||42. Francesco Bagnaia||Kalex||Sky Racing Team VR46||+9.725|
|13||45. Tetsuta Nagashima||Kalex||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||+9.787|
|14||22. Sam Lowes||KTM||Swiss Innovative Investors||+11.209|
|15||57. Edgar Pons||Speed Up||MB Conveyors - Speed Up||+14.076|
|16||89. Khairul Idham Pawi||Kalex||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||+15.350|
|17||4. Steven Odendaal||NTS||NTS RW Racing GP||+15.396|
|18||16. Joe Roberts||NTS||NTS RW Racing GP||+23.230|
|19||24. Simone Corsi||Kalex||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||+33.736|
|20||5. Andrea Locatelli||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+42.324|
|21||67. Bryan Staring||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+52.297|
|22||7. Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||Pons HP40||+1:03.888|
|NC||18. Xavi Cardelus||Kalex||Marinelli Snipers Team||+11 Laps|
|NC||87. Remy Gardner||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+12 Laps|
|NC||9. Jorge Navarro||Kalex||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||+17 Laps|
|NC||27. Iker Lecuona||KTM||Swiss Innovative Investors||+19 Laps|
|NC||21. Federico Fuligni||Kalex||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||+19 Laps|
|NC||95. Jules Danilo||Kalex||Nashi Argan SAG Team||+21 Laps|
|NC||32. Isaac Vinales||Suter||Forward Racing Team||+21 Laps|
|NC||54. Mattia Pasini||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+24 Laps|
|NS||62. Stefano Manzi||Suter||Forward Racing Team||Injured|
|NS||66. Niki Tuuli||Kalex||SIC Racing Team||Injured|