Can Brad Binder be stopped?
The start to Danny Kent’s 2015 season was one of the most dominant in the lightweight class, the Brit leaving the sixth round of the year in Mugello with 124 points. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) may not have won races by over eight seconds, but his performance is no less impressive. Since taking his incredible last to first win in Jerez, he has only gotten stronger at each round and showed he’s a more than capable fighter in the midst of madness in Mugello. He arrives at round seven with 127 points in hand and a 49 points lead, but, as Kent showed in 2015, anything can happen in the remaining 12 rounds.
Mugello proved to be a disastrous weekend for Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) who was brought down after contact with another rider, resulting in his first DNF of the year. The Spaniard is yet to win his first race, but remains a constant threat at the sharp end. Having come through the FIM CEV Repsol championship, Navarro has ample experience at the Barcelona circuit and will no doubt be pushing Binder once again. Navarro arrives 49 points back on the championship lead, Binder’s closest rival.
Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) looked to be on the verge of home glory, until a broken chain saw him retire. The Italian is now a massive 60 points behind Binder and needs to start beating Binder; unfortunately the Montmelo circuit has never been one of Fenati’s best. 2014 saw the Italian finish in fifth, his strongest result at the track.
Binder may have run away with the championship lead, but the battle for fourth remains as one of the tightest in the class. Rookie Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) currently holds the position with 54 points, just one ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3) who arrives in Spain buoyed by his third podium of the year. Bagnaia remains as one of the few riders capable of consistently putting the Mahindra amongst the leading group. The duo are closely followed by fellow VR46 Academy rider Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold), only three points behind Bulega.
Antonelli took fourth in the 2015 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, one of only two riders in the top five still in the championship. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) finished second in the same race and heads to Barcelona with the hopes of being closer to full fitness. A broken wrist forced the Italian to miss Le Mans, coming back in Mugello to take sixth on the grid and 12th in the race, proving he can fight through the pain barrier. The 2015 title contender is yet to take a podium in 2016, but could deliver in Barcelona.
Monday after the race in Italy offered the first official in-season test for the Moto3™ World Championship, sadly it was a day of interruptions as morning rain and high afternoon winds limited track activity. Several riders got a chance to work on their wet weather setup while others chose not to head out at all.
The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya begins with Moto3™ Free Practice 1 at 09:00 Local Time on Friday.
Moto3™ World Championship Standings
1 – Brad Binder (RSA) KTM 127 points
2 – Jorge Navarro (SPA) HONDA 78 points
3 – Romano Fenati (ITA) KTM 67 points
4 – Nicolo Bulega (ITA) KTM 55 points
5 – Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) MAHINDRA 54 points