There was a lot riding on the Moto3 race at MotorLand Aragon where the riders met for the 14th round of the season, on home soil for Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Jorge Navarro, he was looking to recover championships in a bid to prevent Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) winning the 2016 title before the season was up.
Navarro looking to improve on recent results
After a spate of less than ideal results, Navarro, who finished second at the Spanish round in 2015 (and who was the only rider remaining in the class that made it to the podium this year) was looking to return to form with a decent result. The Spaniard won after a long and hard battle at the front of the 250cc pack after qualifying to start the race from the middle of the front row in second.
Navarro takes the lead on the first lap in Aragon
He took advantage of his front row start and by the end of the lap had taken the lead. It seemed as if he and pole position man Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) where pulling away initially, and then it was as if Navarro had managed to shake the Italian off. However on lap three of the race, Bastianini used the long slipstream to his advantage and overtook Navarro.
This continued for several laps until championship leader Brad Binder caught them up and brought within him several riders in tow. As Navarro led they battled behind him first having to take on Bastianini to get through to him. Navarro pulled away slightly but then in attempt to free himself from the pressure behind him, Bastianini bypassed Navarro.
Navarro got mobbed
The Spaniard then lost several more places as Binder, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) and Philipp Oettl (Schedl Racing GP) got past him and pushed him down to fifth. This was the case for several laps until Oettl, who led briefly, had the same move done to him.
Navarro made his way back to the front gradually as the laps passed; on lap 18, he overtook Bastianini heading into turn one. A battle began between the two with Navarro remaining victorious and retaining the lead until the next lap when he was mugged on the straight.
Last minute overtake from Navarro steals the win
Brad Binder had made his way back to the front and on the last lap did what he could to try and win in Aragon in an attempt to seal the championship with a race win, but on the very last turn, Navarro made his final overtake of the race and crossed the line ahead of the South African.
Navarro had won the Aragon Moto3 race, but his victory was in a way outshone by Binder winning the championship and becoming the first South African to do so in 35 years. Navarro viewed his result in Aragon as a “small reward” after the last few rounds when he has not been able to perform to the best of his ability.
Navarro decided to conserve tyres and energy
Describing the 14th round of the Moto3 season Navarro poke of how they “lived the typical Moto3 race in MotoLand”; he was referring to how “slipstreaming plays an important role”, especially with the “large group” that attack at the start of the race.
Navarro explained how in the opening laps he “tried to push” and found that he had “a slight advantage over [his] rivals”. However knowing it was not enough he decided to “slow down” his pace and allow them to pass him in order to not wear himself or the tyres out.
Navarro describes his attack
Over the course of the end five laps he “decided it was time to attack” especially as he noticed the “group grew and Binder began to push hard”. He then started to push and went with the leaders and used his “strategy to get second in the back straight”. He said he was “surprised” by Binder there as he beat both him and Bastianini, however “in the last corner” he had decided “that this race had to be for us and we achieved”.
He said that to “win at home is very big” and described the Aragon Moto3 as a “fun race”. The Spaniard also congratulated Binder on his 2016 title saying, “He has worked hrd and is having a great season!”
Championship battle for second heats up
Navarro’s win meant that he has managed to close the gap slightly to Bastianini in second in the championship. Where Bastianini is on 143 points, Navarro is now just four behind on 139 as the battle for second in the championship heats up. Rookie Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) is 212 points behind in fourth but anything can happen in the remaining four rounds.