Birthday Boy Brad Binder has taken his and KTM‘s first win of the season, in KTM’s back yard at the Red Bull Ring in Austria for round eleven of the Moto2 World Championship.
From the middle of the front row, it was Binder who launched his Red Bull KTM Ajo bike into the lead, as the pack battled their way through the tight and tricky right-hander of turn one, whilst pole-sitter Tetsuta Nagashima slotted into second, and Xavi Vierge third.
Vierge was quick to pass Nagashima, passing him up the inside at the penultimate corner. The leading trio started to pull away from the pack.
Nagashima repassed Vierge up the hill into turn three but as Vierge looked to re-pass Nagashima into turn four the Spaniard missed his braking point, clipping the back of the Japanese rider sending them both into the gravel, ending their race.
Out front, Binder looked comfortable throughout the opening few laps, but a chasing pack of seven riders headed by Enea Bastianini was quickly closing in.
Remy Gardner fought his way through the pack and into second place whilst Tom Luthi was left to contend with his fellow championship rivals Alex Marquez and Lorenzo Baldassarri.
With 15-laps to go, Marquez and Luthi were side by side into turn four, but a rare mistake from Luthi gifted the championship leader fourth position and set his sights on Enea Bastianini.
The battle raged on as Gardner started to close down Brad Binder, bringing the chasing pack with him as it looked set to be a four or five rider scrap with ten laps remaining.
With twelve-laps remaining, the first warning shot was fired by Gardner, who looked to the inside of Binder at turn one but ran wide on the exit allowing the birthday boy back through.
Once again, Gardner tried his luck into turn one, and once again, ran wide, this time off the circuit which allowed the KTM rider back out front and was now under pressure from rookie Enea Bastianini.
Remy Gardner once again tried to pass the South African at turn three but opted for the outside line into the uphill right-hander, but once again got squeezed wide as the top four started to bunch up.
The drama was still yet to unfold in the Moto2 Austrian Grand Prix when Remy Gardner once again ran wide at turn one losing a position to Bastianini whilst championship leader Alex Marquez also looked to take advantage of Gardner. However, when Gardner returned to the track, the pair touched tyres, resulting in a crash for Garnder and an early end to what was a sensational race for the Australian.
Luca Marini was now looking to pass Enea Bastianini but lost the front as he dived up the inside at the penultimate corner, wiping the duo out resulting in an injury for Enea Bastiainini as he was stretched off the Austrian tarmac.
Brad Binder kept his cool to hold of Alex Marquez, to take his debut win of the season with Marquez and Jorge Navarro completing the podium, whilst Lorenzo Baldassarri finished fourth ahead of teammate Augusto Fernandez.
Tom Luthi rounded out the top six ahead of Jorge Martin, Iker Lecuona, Marcel Schrotter and Mattia Pasini completed the top ten. Andrea Locatelli came home in eleventh ahead of Chantra and Nicolo Bulega, whilst Fabio Di Giannantionio, Bo Bendsneyder and Stefano Manzi took the final points positions.
British riders Jake Dixon and Sam Lowes came home in nineteenth (Dixon) and twenty-fourth respectively.
Marquez’s advantage at the top of the standings is now forty-three points over Tom Luthi, and lies a further twelve points ahead of Jorge Navarro. Lorenzo Baldassarri lies fifth and is now sixty-six points back from Marquez.
Moto2 will return to Triumph’s home in two weeks time when MotoGP heads to Great Britain and the iconic Silverstone circuit for round twelve of the MotoGP World Championship.