Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) has signed off his Moto3™ career with an unbelievable fight back through the field to the victory, after ending up in P22 in the early stages of the race. Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) took P2 and another podium to round off an impressive season, taking the title of Rookie of the Year in the process, with Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Andrea Migno completing the podium.
Blue skies and perfect conditions – the last battle for Moto3™ had the stage perfectly set for another incredible race. There was drama early as pole setter Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) stalled on the grid and was forced to push the bike into pitlane – leaving Bastianini and Binder free to lead the initial melee on the first lap. Then, Francesco Bagnaia (Pull&Bear Aspar Mahindra) and Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing) crashed out as the Argentine lost control and collected the Italian – expensive in ‘Pecco’’s attempt to secure P3 in the title standings – followed by a problem for reigning Champion Binder that saw the South African suddenly sit up and drop from second on track to outside the top twenty; able to then get back into his rhythm and start fighting back.
That left key Rookie of the Year contender Joan Mir at the head of the race and impressing as he did on the way to his first win in Austria. The Mallorcan held the gap initially at six tenths over Rookie rival Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) in P2 – with the leader for the award going into the weekend, Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46), down in P19 after a 12-place penalty dropped him down the starting grid.
Mir was then penalised for a pass under Yellow Flags and was forced to drop a place – slowing down for the chasing pack to catch him and immediately allowing Andrea Migno through from P2. A front group of eleven riders were close on track – with Binder the last in the freight train as his recovery ride saw him knocking on the door to the top ten with 14 laps to go; fastest man on track.
The South African was well in the podium fight with seven laps to go, hunting down Migno and Mir for the victory. Reminiscent of his fight back from last on the grid in Jerez – when he stormed through to hit the front and then disappear for the victory – Binder had already gained back every place he lost with the early incident, bar one.
The 2016 Moto3™ World Champion made one mistake as he ran wide and dropped back into P4, before moving through to the front once again and proving unmovable around the last lap, despite the best efforts of Mir and Migno. Gresini Racing Team Moto3 duo Bastianini and Di Giannantonio fought it out just behind, with ‘Bestia’ finally getting the better of his rookie teammate and confirming himself P2 in the title standings in 2016.
Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team) got good points in return for his great form in Valencia in P6, ahead of Jakub Kornfeil, who signed off from Drive M7 SIC Racing Team with an impressive ride into P7 following his podium in Sepang.
Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) took home another top ten in P8, ahead of local hero Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who leaves Moto3™ after a solid ride to ninth – and took third in the Championship with the haul of points, after Bagnaia was unable to score. Bagnaia’s teammate, Pull&Bear Aspar Mahindra’s home hero Jorge Martin, completed the top ten.
Moto3™ Race Results
1 – Brad Binder (RSA) KTM 40’13.777
2 – Joan Mir (SPA) KTM +0.056
3 – Andreas Migno (ITA) KTM +0.081