It seemed like nothing was going to stop Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder, the 2016 Moto3 champion, from winning his last race in the Moto3 category. Even dropping from the front bunch to 21st, along with suspected issues with his bike, was not going to prevent him from getting that last 250cc.
Rookie Canet gets first Moto3 pole in Valencia
The three world championship classes were at the Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, for the last round of the 2016 season. Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) had secured his first ever Moto3 pole; unfortunately for the Spanish rookie, he had problems on the grid and had to start the race from pit lane. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Brad Binder and Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia). But that doesn’t really mean anything in the Moto3 as it comes down to tactics on the day.
Problems for Brad Binder at the start
After getting a great start at the Gran Premio Motul de la Communitant Valenciana, Brad Binder all of a sudden sat up and intentionally ran on to extra tarmac run-off areas, where he was then seen checking the left hand side of his bike. He decided he was OK to continue and re-joined in 21st. Then his mission began, he pushed hard and gradually over a series of laps caught up to the leaders and commenced in their battle that they had already started.
Rookie Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Gresini Racing Moto3 teammates Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio were constantly switching positions at the front in a bid to be first. Turn one was an overtaking hotspot after having just used the long straight to slip-stream before using the extra power to get ahead and brake late into the turn to make the pass. By the time Brad Binder had got there the group was becoming nine for the lead.
Mir penalised for overtaking on yellow flag
Unfortunately for Mir, who had extended a small lead at the very front, was penalised for overtaking (which helped him to take the lead) on a yellow flag. He had to sacrifice his gap and the first position allowing Migno to take over at the front, he soon regained the place though. It came right down to the final lap, even when Brad Binder was heading for the finish line; Joan Mir made one last attempt to pass him at turn 14 before they headed down the straight for the last time.
But the champion beat him to the line; Brad Binder won ahead of Mir, who in turn became the ‘Rookie of the Year’ in the Moto3 class, and they were joined on the final podium of the season by Migno. What a way for Brad Binder to thank his Moto3 team who helped him to win his first Moto3 title, and what a fitting way to say goodbye to Moto3 as he will be one of several riders who have been promoted to the Moto2 class next season (the provisional entry lists have just been released).
Brad Binder reveals he was determined to end Moto3 career with a win
Brad Binder admitted that he “wanted to finish [his] time In Moto3 with a victory” however he also “did not expect to do so”. He said that at the start “something happened” to him that he “could not understand” and so he “moved aside to see if everything was in place”. As a result of the problem he “lost two laps checking the bike was working well” before he then continued to push “hard again”.
He felt that that to “come back and win the race was incredible”, and he spoke of how he is “very happy” and how he “cannot be more grateful to the team for the incredible year” they have experienced. As a competitive rider he said, “Now it’s time to think about Moto2.”
He admitted he has been “counting the days to get on the new bike”, and it is “very important” to him to “move to a higher class” and ahead of his new venture he is “very motivated”. He felt that the 2016 Moto3 season had gone “much better than expected” and he felt that “winning the title with four races to go and getting seven wins is incredible”. He spoke of how he is “on cloud nine” and that he “can only thank the team”.
Mir becomes ‘Rookie of the Year’ in Valencia
Leopard Racing team rider Mir, who became ‘Rookie of the Year’ after finishing highest out of a whole bunch of them who have brought so much excitement to the whole season, was “very happy to end the season this way”. He admitted that he “would not have said at the beginning of the year” that he would end up “fighting at every opportunity”, never mind “winning one race and getting two podiums”.
He was very grateful to Leopard Racing saying, “I want to thank the whole team because they have worked hard on a bike that did not know.” Next year the team will be switching from KTM to Honda, and Mir spoke of how he “cannot wait to get on the new bike and to be competitive from the first race!”
Migno felt Valencia podium was much more significant
Italian rider Migno, admitted that “the podium at Assen was nice” but that finishing third at the season finale in Valencia gave him “more pleasure”, and he felt that “this achievement was indeed needed”. He felt “really happy” but claiming that Valencia was “more significant” as he “struggled from the start” at what he feels is a “tricky track” to him, he ended up having “a really super race” and he went on to “thank the whole team”.
Having crashed during Qualifying, and ending up starting the race from further down the grid than he had liked, he was impressed how “after the fall” his team were “able to rearrange the bike in just 10 minutes”; they then were “working until late at night to put [him] in a position to give [his] best today”. He dedicated his podium to his team, his father and his family.
Migno knew of the quality of riders that were ahead of him before the race started, and decided to “take the initiative” as “in front of everyone he felt good”. Finding that the “pace was not so bad” he was also able to “replicate very competitive times lap after lap”. He did however feel that in the end he got it a bit wrong but said it has “served as a lesson”, and that now “next time [he’ll] know what to do”. He felt they have “grown a lot in the last races” and that they were fast, but that there has “always been some incident” then prevented them from getting the required results. However he said, “Today we succeeded” and confirmed they are “very, very happy”.