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)
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