It was not a clean start for the Moto3 field as they took to the circuit at Le Mans for the fifth round of the championship in France. News came through than Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) and Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team) were to be penalised for a false start and had to complete ride through penalties.
Norrodin the first victim in Moto3 race
The first corner was messy as many of the 250cc bikes collided as they all 33 of them tried to get through the first couple of corners as high up the leaderboard as possible. Unfortunately for Adam Norrodin (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team), he did not survive the shoving and after coming into contact with another rider who forced him out and he fell into the gravel at turn four. Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold) also crashed out at turn seven of the first lap. Both riders were fortunately unharmed.
Nicollo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) got a great start and led into the first corner but it was not long until Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) made his move to overtake him. The South African crossed the line after finishing the first lap in first ahead of a long chain of riders in pursuit; almost mimicking qualifiying when they were trying to learn from the championship leader. Karel Hanika (Platinum Bay Real Estate) soon crashed out on the second lap of the 2.6mile Bugatti circuit.
Fenati was giving up easily
In a brave move, Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Romano Fenati went from third to first at the start of the third lap having overtaken Antonelli and Brad Binder. But on the next lap Binder regained his lead and Navarro was also able to get past Fenati who fought back immediately. News then came through that Philipp Oettl (Schedl Racing GP) crashed out at turn 14 of the fourth lap.
A battle between Fenati and Navarro allowed Brad Binder to pull away slightly. Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing) who had been fast in practice had made his way up to third. Fenati was not happy in second and with 18 laps remaining he forced his way past Brad Binder, as Fenati seemed more comfortable on the brakes. Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) and Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) came into contact at one point allowing Kornfeil to get past them, however he missed his breaking point and had to run off track. He had to go down the slip road and when he returned to the track was in eleventh with his work cut out.
Riders completed their penalties whilst the battle continued up front
Both Rodrigo and Mir completed their penalties within 16 laps of the race remaining as Brad Binder regained at the front of the pack of 10 that had formed. Small groups formed within this group of 10 as riders battled for particular positions. With 15laps remaining, Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate) crashed out at turn three, he was unhurt.
With 12 laps remaining the front four riders began to break away, Fenati now led Brad Binder, rookie Canet and Navarro. Quartararo led the second group battling for fifth position including Antonelli, Migno and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) who must have been hurting after a huge highside in qualifying.
On the next lap, local rookie Canet got past Binder after out-braking the South African to take second which now allowed Fenati to pull away. He had a unique line compared to the others in the lead group. Binder soon regained second place from him.
Antonelli made his move
Meanwhile, just behind pole position man Antonelli made his move to claim fifth from Quartararo but ended up going wide and lost two places to Quartararo and Migno who came straight past; it was not long until he ended up at the back of the second group as Bulega also got past and so Antonelli ended up in eighth.
More racing incidents
More racing incidents occurred as Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) crashed out from 17th place at turn eight; he was unhurt. In the second group Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) was almost touched by his teammate Bulega as Quartararo overtook Migno on the slip-and Bulega almost took advantage too. Bulega went on to take a place from Quartararo however he soon lost it on the next straight.
The battle continued between Brad Binder and Navarro for second place however Brad Binder was determined and he soon overtook Navarro and made it stick, and then began to concentrate on gaining his lead back from Fenati. When it looked like Brad Binder was going to challenge for the lead, Navarro made his presence felt again and forced his way past Brad Binder who retaliated, he wanted the win.
Time for the penultimate lap
Just a couple of corners remained on the penultimate lap and Brad Binder finally managed to make his move on Fenati and take the lead. The ever determined Fenati did not want to give up his place so easily and made it as difficult as possible; however Brad Binder had had the chance to study the Italian in the race and made a calculated manoeuvre that he managed to make stick. Fenati tried to do what he could to get past but Brad Binder was riding so defensively and made it too difficult.
In a last stitch attempt to get on the podium, entering the last corners Canet made a move on Navarro however he came into contact with the back of his teammate and was forced to sit up and run wide, and instead the rookie had to settle for fourth as the fastest rookie in the field.
Brad Binder takes the win
It finished as Brad Binder the winner ahead of Fenati who finished just 0.099 seconds behind, and Navarro claimed the bottom step of the podium and finished as the fastest Honda. Despite only managing to finish fourth at home, rookie Canet managed to set the fastest lap in the race with a time of 1:42.923 which was just 0.5 seconds slower than the lap record here set by Efren Vazquez in 2014.
Despite his highside the day before, Bulega finished in fifth. He led the second group of four that crossed the line ahead of Quartararo, teammate Migno and Antonelli. Kornfeil could only recover back to ninth place ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Leopard Racing), Livio Loi (RW Racing GP BV) and the fastest Mahindra of Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3).
Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team) finished in 13th ahead of Khairul Pawi (Honda Team Asia) and Tatsuki Suzuki (CIP-Unicorn Starker) claimed the final points towards the championship in 15th.
The only Frenchman in the field Alexis Masbou finished in nineteenth at his home GP for the Peugeot MC Saxoprint Team. He was the fastest Peugeot at the manufacturer’s home round and finished just ahead of his teammate, Brit John McPhee in twentieth. The only female in the group Maria Herrera (MH6) finished just behind the Brit in twenty-first.
Binder continues to lead the championship
Brad Binder has extended his championship lead now and is still at the top with a lead now of twenty-four points ahead of Navarro in second as the top Honda. Sky Racing Team VR46 teammates Fenati and Bulega (the fastest rookie) in third and fourth ahead of Antonelli and Bagnaia as the fastest Mahindra in sixth.