Championship leader Brad Binder has won the fourth round of the Moto3 despite having to start from the back of the grid. The South African Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was penalised for ‘illegal mapping in the software’ on the KTM.
Heroic efforts from Binder who started at the back of the grid
All this did was gave Binder an extra challenge. His pursuit began straight away as he plucked off riders at the back of the field to eventually move up to the front group of three that had broken away; compiled of Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galici 0,0), Francesco Bagnaiai (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto 3) and pole position man rookie Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing VR46).
Disastorous start for Antonelli
The paddock woke up to fog at Jerez, Spain ahead of the three main races from the premier class. It soon cleared. Riders completed a warm up lap but on approaching the grid before the start Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta Rivacold) stalled and could not get his 250cc Honda going again. He was forced off the grid and had to try and get started and begin the race from the pit lane meaning he had a later start.
Bagnaia got a fantastic start from now third on the grid and he led into the first corner on his Mahindra ahead of Bulega and Navarro. It was not long before Navarro overtook Bagnaia to claim the lead with Bulega sat closely behind in third.
The crashes began in the Moto3 class
Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) and Jorge Martin (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3) were involved in an incident at turn six, forcing Martin to return to the pits, but Quartararo was able to remount and continue. Another crash occurred on the second lap this time involved riders Karel Hanika (PlatinumBay Real Estate), Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia), Andrea Locatelli (Leopard Racing) and Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia); the race ended here for this group of riders.
Binder was on his way
By the start of the third lap a lead group of three had formed followed by a group of ten riders battling for fourth. Binder set the fastest lap so far as he had already gotten up to 14th place allowing him to tag onto the back of the second group. It was not long before Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team) felt the pressure from Binder as he went wide touching the dirt and soon Binder claimed his 13th spot. Meanwhile at the front Bulega had claimed second from Bagnaia.
Turn one of lap five and not only did Binder gain 12th but Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) crashed; he was holding his right arm as if he had done some damage. Further into the lap Bulega overtook Navarro on the inside to claim the lead. Navarro soon fought back overtaking Bulega on the inside of turn one. On the next lap Navarro went wide but he was lucky as instead Bulega lost place to Bagnaia.
Binder's pursuit continues
Binder was up to eighth by the end of lap six, he soon claimed seventh on the next lap from Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3), and Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) was able to move up to fifth. As they crossed the start finish line to begin lap eight, Binder was able to claim fourth at the end of the straight braking into turn one and so his pursuit for the lead class began as he now had no traffic ahead of him.
The only Brit crashes out
Quartararo, who crashed earlier, was forced to retire from the race. Also, The only British rider in the class, John McPhee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) crashed out at turn two ending his weekend early.
Back at the front Bulega appeared to sit back as the battle continued between Navarro, who led, and Bagnaia. Binder had a three second gap to close down and after almost gaining a higher position, Bulega decided to take a long look back to spot Binder’s whereabouts before he made his decision on how to act next as the South African was lapping over a second faster.
The battle for fifth was hotting up as Antonelli's bad luck continued
Twelve laps remained and the battle for fifth continued made up of a group of riders including Philipp Oettll (Shedl G Racing), Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), Bastianini, Fenati, Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold), Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team). Antonelli’s bad luck continued as he crashed out of the left handed corner of turn eight; he appeared unhurt.
The South African had arrived
At the beginning of lap 14, Binder had tagged onto the back of the lead group of three and by the end of the start finish straight he was able to outbrake Bulega and overtake him on the inside of turn one. Bagnaia reclaimed first from Navarro a few corners later and Binder almost took advantage of Navarro’s attempt to fight back.
As the leaders took on turn one of lap 15, Navarro overtook Bagnaia forcing the Mahindra rider to make a mistake. This allowed Binder and Bulega to take advantage and the two went through meaning he went from first to fourth within a few corners; it also meant that Binder had claimed an amazing thirty-three places since the start of the race and had one more to go in order to win. Meanwhile the Fenati regained the lead of the group that followed leaving him in fifth.
More crashes occured
Seven laps remained and Bagnaia overtook Bulega when he made a mistake taking third position again. Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate) and Alexis Masbou (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) crashed out at turn two when fighting for seventeenth position; both riders were unharmed.
Binder finally made it to the front on lap seventeen when he forced his way past previous leader Navarro. This forced the Spaniard to make a mistake, and Bagnaia was able to steal second from Navarro also. On the next lap he took his second place back in a sloppy overtaking manoeuvre where he just made the apex.
Pole position rookie Bulega makes his move
Three laps remained and Binder was not only leading the race after starting from the rear of the grid but he was not extended a lead ahead of second place Bagnaia. But now rookie Bulega decided to make his move and overtook both Navarro and Bagnaia to claim second from the two. Bagnaia looked for any way past which led to him losing a place to Navarro.
The battle for second continued
This battle for second place continued with three abreast for each corner, until turn 13 of the last lap when Bulega found himself on the inside line with the drive to cross the line in second behind race winner and championship leader Brad Binder who won with a 3.3 second lead. Bagnaia claimed third and the Spanish Navarro finished his home GP in fourth position.
Kornfeil wins the second battle
Kornfeil won the battle for fifth, ahead of Mir, Fenati, Bastianini, Danilo, Oettl and Migno in 11th. Guevara finished in 12th ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo (RB Racing Team), Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia) and Tatsuki Suzuki (CIP-Unicron Starker) in fifteenth claiming the final championship point.
Binder was the fastest KTM, Bagnaia the fastest Mahindra, Navarro the fastest Honda and no Peugeot completed the race. The rare ‘addition’ to the Moto 3 field Albert Arenas (MRW Mahindra spar Team) finished in 18th ahead of the only female in the class Maria Herrera (MH6 Laglisse) in 19th. Davide Pizzoli (Procercasa – 42 Motorsport) was the fastest of the two wildcards as he finished in 20th and his teammate, the other wildcard Enzo Boulom managed to finish in twenty-second.
Binder remains the championship leader after his heroic efforts
Binder extended his championship lead with his win and now leads with fifty-two points ahead of Navarro (49), Fenati (38), Antonelli (31) and Pawi (25).