Press Release from KTM: Leopard Racing’s Joan Mir of Spain and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s South African rider Brad Binder got down to business at the sweeping Red Bull Ring in Austria’s Spielberg on Sunday to give KTM the double at the company’s HomeGP Moto3 race. Enea Bastianini took the podium third in a race that saw six of the top ten riders on the Austrian brand bikes.
KTM riders finished 4,5,7 and 9 with Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Philipp Oettl (GER), Binder’s young teammate Bo Bendsneyder (NED) and Nicolo Bulega (ITA).
After a spirited battle for the lead, Joan Mir took the win when he dived up on the inside of championship leader Binder in the last corner. It was his career first in this class. The rider who has come up through the ranks of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup also broke the run of riders this season who have not won from pole position.
Mir: “Incredible. What can I say about this weekend – it was perfect right from the first free practice. We worked a lot with the team and thanks to them because we worked well together and this is the result.”
Both Brad Binder and Mir were major players in the lead group throughout the 23-lap on the Red Bull Ring when the MotoGP competition returned to the new-look Austrian circuit after a 19-year absence.
The South African took holeshot honors but Mir immediately went into the lead in lap two to launch a five-way duel between these two riders, Bastianini, Mir’s teammate Quartararo and Oettl. Binder had the best of the action at the front in the first half of the race but he was constantly challenged by the fierce competition amongst the lead group. He went out of the top three for the first time in lap 18 of the 23-lap race when he got into difficulties in turn four and dropped back to fifth while Mir took care of business at the front. The final stages of the race saw Mir and Quartararo in a tough contest while Binder set his personal best lap with three laps to go. He moved up to third but again ran into difficulties in turn four in the penultimate lap. Half way through the final lap Binder hit the front but Mir dived in low on the inside of the final corner and took the prize.
Binder: “I’m very happy with how things went today. I was close to throwing everything away, because I went wide a couple of times on the final laps, but I was able to regain contact with the group quickly. Today I had a strange feeling with the bike and it did not let me go as fast as during the rest of the weekend. On the last lap I felt strong and I tried to overtake Mir, but I went a little wide and I had to pass Bastianini as well. I’m sorry, because it was a bit of a hard move, but I wanted to try and win. To finish second here is amazing. Regardless of what others do, I always try to win as if it were the first race. I think I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
While Binder had to settle for second, he leaves the circuit with an impressive 67-point lead in the championship. The South African’s dominant position was further secured after his closest challenger Jorge Navarro crashed out with five laps to go after spirited ride from grid position 17. Binder’s other main challenger, Romano Fenati, was also not on the start with his KTM RC250 GP after his team sanctioned him for a rule infringement.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s rookie Bendsneyder can also leave the Red Bull Ring satisfied with his season’s best result.
Bendsneyder: “I think we have done a great job all weekend, the bike has worked great and in the race everything went perfectly. I am also happy for Red Bull and KTM, as it was a special Grand Prix for them.”
Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Race 1
Aleix Viu crossed the line first but fellow Spaniard Marc Garcia won the first ever Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race at the Red Bull Ring. Pole man Viu was penalised for exceeding track limits and thus gave up first spot to 16-year-old Garcia while Cup points leader Ayumu Sasaki, the 15-year-old Japanese, completed the podium places.
Viu’s race on the KTM RC250 RB was almost perfect as the 15-year-old did most of the leading just as he had done a few weeks ago at the Sachsenring. This time he was only threatened by Garcia as the pair stretched an advantage over Sasaki who was having his own private battle with fellow countryman Kaito Toba but got way from the 16-year-old Sachsenring Race 2 winner in the closing stages.
The Rookies Cup lap record as well as race win goes to Garcia who did do a fantastic job of chasing Viu and arguably pushed him into exceeding those track limits on the final lap. “Yes it was a great race and I did everything that I could, my plan was to pass him at the last corner but he came across and took the line,” explained the Catalan. “The bike was great, I changed my lines a bit through the race and looked for the best way. I really thought there would be a lot more riders up front and of course tomorrow it might be a very different race, we’ll see,” said the third year Rookie who takes his first win of the season and the second of his career.
Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Race 2
After a string of second places, Viu would not be denied his victory on Sunday at the Red Bull Ring. An incredible final lap of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup action on the KTM RC 250 RBs saw the 15-year-old Spaniard respond to attacks by Sasaki and Garcia and lead them across the line to claim his second win of the year.
“The three of us had agreed before the race that we wouldn’t fight until the end,” explained Viu. “We knew that it needed to be like that to get away from the others. On the last lap I knew Ayumu and Marc would attack and I also knew I just had to pass them straight back, I was feeling great on the bike and I was confident I could do it.” Before Race 1 I planned to try and get away in front but I couldn’t do it so it made sense to run with Ayumu and Marc this time, I just made sure I didn’t exceed track limits. I have felt great on the bike these last races, we have a good setting and it is gives me great confidence so I think we can carry this to Brno next weekend,” enthused the Catalan.
Next Race: August 21, 2016 – Automotodrom Brno (CZE)
Results Moto3 Red Bull Ring-Spielberg 2016
1. Joan Mir (ESP), KTM, 37:23.325 min (23 laps)
2. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +0.279 sec
3. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda, +0.431
4. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), KTM, +0.439
5. Philipp Oettl, (GER), KTM, +0.600
Standings Moto3 2016 after 10 of 18 rounds
1. Binder, 179 points
2. Jorge Navarro (ESP), Honda, 112
3. Fenati, 93
4. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Mahindra, 90
5. Bulega, 82
Results Race 1 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Spielberg 2016
All riders on KTM RC250 RB
1. Marc Garcia (ESP), 28:26.181 min (17 laps)
2. Aleix Viu, (ESP), +0 lap
3. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN), +3.453 sec
4. Kaito Toba, (JPN), +10.264
5. Raul Fernandez (ESP), +11.712
Results Race 2 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Spielberg 2016
1. Viu, 28:18.781 min (17 laps)
2. Sasaki, +0.183 sec
3. Garcia, +0.263
4. Rufino Florido (ESP), +11.560
5. Kevin Ogris (GER), +11.567
Standings Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup 2016 after 8 of 13 rounds
1. Sasaki, 155 points
2. Viu, 132
3. Fernandez, 122
4. Garcia, 100
5. Toba, 70