Brad Binder claims a spectacular maiden victory for him and KTM in his third ever MotoGP race.
Poleman Johann Zarco was unable to cleanly get off the line, dropping him backwards and into the clutches of the Petronas Yamaha riders. Fabio Quartararo lead into turn 1 but a rare mistake from the Frenchman letting teammate Franco Morbidelli swoop though to lead the race, quickly putting distance between himself and the pack. Zarco continued to slip down the pack into sixth as Aprilia man Aleix Espargaro muscled his way up from fourth to second, slipping past Quartararo at turn 4 whilst the Red Bull KTM duo of Pol Espargaro and Binder moved into fourth and fifth.
It wasn’t long before the South African made his move on his teammate, picking off A.Espargaro as he went before he set his sights on Quartararo’s Petronas Yamaha machine. Morbidelli continued to lead the race, opening up a gap of 1 second between himself and his young teammate, whilst P.Espargaro battled to pass ex-teammate Zarco at turn 3, setting his sights on Binder and Quartararo to fight for second.
Growing ever impatient with his progress, P.Espargaro ran wide into turn 1 during lap 10 with a chasing Zarco just behind him. Drama struck the pair as Espargaro attempted to sweep back on the run up to turn 2 but Zarco’s front wheel made contact with P.Espargaro causing the KTM rider to tumble out of the race. After Race Direction reviewed the incident, Zarco has handed a long-lap penalty, a decision Ducati bosses protested against almost immediately.
Whilst KTM were left broken hearted over Espargaro, there was a shining light as Binder was on the hunt for the lead. Binder quickly dispatched of Quartararo and set his sights on Morbidelli in the lead and, with nine laps remaining, Binder caught the Italian rider and led a MotoGP race for the first time. It wasn’t long before Binder put some breathing room between himself and Morbidelli as Zarco and Quartararo had their eyes on the final podium position just as Zarco was due to take his long lap penalty. The Frenchman delivered the most picture-perfect penalty, sweeping through the penalty loop with pinpoint precision before re-joining the track in third position.
Quartararo was unable to continue his incredible streak as tyre troubles saw him being chased by Alex Rins, Valentino Rossi and Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira. With only five laps remaining, the championship leader was unable to fend off the approaching riders and was soon pushed down to sixth with Oliveira picking him off with four laps to go.
Binder’s four-second lead saw him score KTM’s first MotoGP victory, making the dreams of the entire Austrian factory outfit come true only days before their home race. Morbidelli claimed his first MotoGP podium and moved him up to third in the overall standings. Zarco fended off Rins to round out the podium in third, his first podium since Malaysian’18.
Rins put in an incredible performance to claim fourth whilst still riding injured with Rossi taking fifth ahead of Oliveira claiming his best premier class finish in sixth. Quartararo finished the day in a somewhat disappointing seventh position with LCR Honda Idemitsu rider Taka Nakagami finishing a second behind the Frenchman in eighth and Jack Miller in ninth. A.Espargaro managed to salvage tenth place, his best finish of 2020 so far, ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in eleventh who made up seven places from his awful qualifying position of eighteenth.
With less than a week until the AustrianGP, can Binder and KTM ride the wave of their Czech success into their home GP or will Quartararo’s Brno weekend make him even more hungry for victory?