Starting from a maiden intermediate class pole position, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder produced a brilliant performance at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon to take his second win of the season and second Moto2™ win. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was beaten into second but claimed a fourth straight podium finish on his 100th Grand Prix start and increased his points lead, with compatriot Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) standing on the rostrum for the first time since Mugello, taking third.
Binder got off to a great start and led the opening exchanges ahead of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) after the Spaniard was able to get himself up to second from P4 on the grid, with Bagnaia slotting into fourth before overtaking P2 starter Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP). Marquez was then able to slice his way through to the lead at home GP as the front trio started to break away from the chasing Baldassarri and Schrötter.
Baldassarri was reeling in the leading three as Marquez’ pace at the front started to dip, however, and heading into Turn 16 on Lap 13, Binder ran slightly wide. Bagnaia held the tighter racing line as the South African started to cut back and the two just tagged each other for a heart in the mouth moment, but both stayed on and Binder stayed ahead. The 2016 Moto3™ World Champion then continued to lock horns with his 2014 counterpart Marquez and after two failed attempts, Binder made a move stick into Turn 12 on lap 15 – with the two coming into contact on the exit. But from there, Binder couldn’t be stopped and he went on to claim his second intermediate class win.
Behind, Bagnaia recovered and made his way past Baldassarri after the latter went wide and was then able to get the better of Marquez – making it P2 for the Championship leader who now has a 19-point lead in the title race. Baldassarri and Marquez then found themselves in a dog fight on the penultimate lap, with the former emerging victorious.
Behind Marquez was Schrötter in a slightly more difficult race after the German showed great pace throughout the weekend, with Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) securing sixth after starting P15 – a great ride from the reigning Moto3™ World Champion. Seventh was Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who also produced another comeback ride after starting 18th. The Portuguese rider lost valuable ground in the Championship, but gained some serious positions in the race.
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was able to come out on top in the battle with Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up) as they took eighth and ninth respectively, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) recovering from a bad start to round out the top ten – from P3 on the grid. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) was 11th, two seconds ahead of compatriot Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) who finished 12th as Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40), Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) and Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completed the points scorers.
A ninth podium of 2018 sees Bagnaia increase his lead in the Championship over Oliveira as the intermediate class enter the final five rounds of the season. Can the Portuguese rider bounce back in Thailand?
Moto2™ Race Results
1 – Brad Binder (RSA) KTM 39’59.247
2 – Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) KALEX +1.526
3 – Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) KALEX +2.055
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