Brad Binder has taken his sixth victory of the season at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit after a frantic and chaotic red-flagged Moto3 race. The South African was six seconds clear of nearest rival Andrea Locatelli who guided his Leopard machine home in second position with Aron Canet clutching his first career podium in third after a breathtaking sixteen rider battle.
After a dismal weekend of rain, wind and dark skies, the Moto3 class were greeted with bright, blue skies as they lined up on the grid. A dry Warm Up gave the riders the chance to see what pace they had as mixed conditions throughout the previous free practice sessions gave the riders little time out on track.
It was a frenzied early battle for the lead, with Binder taking the holeshot off the line from Gabriel Rodrigo. The first big crash however came the very next corner as Binder’s brother Darryn crashed at Turn 2 and in the process brought down Khairul Idham Pawi, Joan Mir and Rodrigo’s teammate Juanfran Guevara.
There was several causalities in the early laps especially in the battle for the Rookie of the Year which involved Joan Mir, Nicolo Bulega, Aron Canet and Fabio Di Giannantonio. Canet was the first to hit the deck after being involved in the Binder incident at turn 2, he got his bike restarted and rejoined the race but subsequently crashed the very next lap at turn 4. Bulega was the next victim of the cold conditions as the Italian was bumped off track by the rocketing Fabio Quartararo who was starting from the back of the grid. On lap four, a hopeful overtake by Rodrigo on Di Giannantonio resulted in disaster as the Argentinian clattered into the Gresini rider which sent the rookie into Francesco Bagnaia as a result.
A massive crash at Lukey Heights saw John McPhee highside out and collect a number of other riders, which also resulted in the race being temporarily red-flagged.Carnage ensued behind as Migno ran over the Scotsman before both he and Bastianini fell themselves, with Bastianini then being struck by Jorge Navarro too. Bastianini, Migno and Navarro walked away from the incident with McPhee being taken to the medical center by ambulance but was reported to be ok.
Once the incidents had been resolved the re-started race was set for ten laps, with the grid positions being the order of riders at the end of lap five. Bastianini and Migno were unable to make the restart but Navarro lined up once again for the new race. Unfortunately for Fabio Quartararo, the Frenchman once again had to start at the back of the grid for the new race having been disqualified from his P2 qualifying position due to a technical infringement.
In the restart, it was Binder who blasted of the line and he was leading into turn 2 with Locatelli and Rodrigo in close proximity. The South African then began to pull away from the gallant Leopard rider who, tried in the early stages of the restart to bridge over to the Moto3 World Champion, but was unable to trouble the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider, in the end finishing three seconds behind Binder at the chequered flag.
Despite victory being out of grasps from an early stage of the race, a 16 rider freight train had developed with the prize being the final spot on the luxurious podium which many were seeking for the first time. As the final lap started, Darryn Binder was holding on to third from Canet and Rodrigo and the South African looked set to take his maiden Moto3 World Championship rostrum until the rocketing Spaniard slipstreamed his way past the heartbroken Binder denying the younger Binder brother the chance to stand alongside his world champion brother.
Livio Loi completed the top five, ahead of Jorge Martin and Marcos Ramirez who topped off a fantastic weekend for the Platinum Bay Mahindra team in seventh. Hiroki Ono, Jules Danilo and Bo Bendsneyder locked out the top ten.
Moto3 will return next weekend to take over the Sepang International Circuit, with a new track surface, mixed weather conditions and long straights to look forward to, the race could become one for the more tactical approaching rider.