The fight behind Binder reaches fever pitch
As the Moto3™ paddock prepare for their final battle of the year, 2016 World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) returns to Spanish soil after last racing in the country at the Aragon GP and securing the crown. Crashing last time out in Sepang, the South African will be focused on winning one final Moto3™ race ahead of his move up to the intermediate class. One of the key men in his way is sure to be fellow 2017 Moto2™ rider Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) – the local.
Navarro is from Valencia, and will have big home support from both his Fan Club and the crowd as he also prepares to bid adieu to Moto3™ with another victory. In addition, Navarro is facing down Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) – the man set to replace him at EG0,0 in 2017 – and Francesco Bagnaia (Pull&Bear Aspar Mahindra) for second in the Championship, and nothing will be left on the table.
Bagnaia was the man to make big gains in Sepang. Taking a stunning second career win with Navarro crashing out, the Italian moved up into third in the standings – but is only two points clear of the Spaniard. 19 points behind Bastianini in second, Bagnaia’s crosshairs are sure to be on Navarro at the Valencian’s home round.
Bastianini is hoping to be back on track after a crash at Phillip Island – where he was caught in the crossfire of a crash for John McPhee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) and then collided with Navarro. The Italian has a points margin over compatriot Bagnaia of 19 points, and over Navarro of 21. If he is able to compete in Valencia, the goal will be taking P2 in the title – and that may only require a handful of points.
The exciting fight just behind the three-way battle for P2 sees another three riders locked in competition, this time for the coveted prize of Rookie of the Year. 2015 FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship winner Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) leads that charge on 129 points, with Austrian GP winner Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) on 124 and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) on 123. With all three of the riders knowing the track, the final rookie showdown – where every point counts – is sure to be an amazing show once again.
Last year, Navarro was on the podium, Binder just off it – and Bulega in the points as a wildcard. Now, just 24 laps of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo remain to bid adieu to the spectacular 2016 Moto3™ season – with so much still to play for.
Moto3™ World Championship Standings
1 – Brad Binder (RSA) KTM 294 points
2 – Enea Bastianini (ITA) HONDA 164 points
3 – Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) MAHINDRA 145 points
4 – Jorge Navarro (SPA) HONDA 143 points
5 – Nicolo Bulega (ITA) KTM 129 points