2016 Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) on Saturday wrapped up his sixth victory of the season at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit in Australia, and in doing so, continued KTM’s domination of wins on this circuit. Andrea Locatelli (ITA) put his KTM in second position and Spaniard Aron Canet was third in what was one of the most dramatic race weekends of the season. There were red flag situations in both qualifying and on race day.
Brad Binder’s victory was his sixth of the season and he now has an impressive lead of 130 points with two races in hand. The South African was not only thrilled with his win but also because his younger brother Darryn finished a close fourth behind Canet to make it a memorable day for South African motorsports.
Binder: “Today was great. I started off quite well and I saw that after the first lap there was a 0.5 gap. I knew I needed another 2-3 perfect laps to open the gap and I thought if I could break his slipstream I can get away. I’m stoked to get another victory but my brother came fourth and that’s almost more special.”
The South African laid down the challenge as the race got away as scheduled. But the opening laps were characterized by a series of multi rider crashes and was red-flagged after British rider John McPhee went down hard in the middle of a melee of bikes and riders in lap six.
This came at the cost of a spectacular comeback by French KTM rider Fabio Quartararo. He had been a front row starter after Saturday’s qualifying, then because of some technical irregularity, he had to start from the back of the grid. He had charged his way through the field in the first six laps to be on Binder’s rear wheel when the red flag went out. He then had to start again from the back of the grid at the restart, this time for only 10 of the planned 23 laps. Quartararo went on to finish 12th.
Binder’s dominance on the KTM RC 250 GP was undisputed. He started from pole and led the race up until the red flag. He got away in the lead at the restart and was almost six seconds in front at the end of the 10-lap restart.
And while Andrea Locatelli managed to stick to Binder’s wheel for the first half of the restart, he too had an impressive four-second lead over Canet at the checkered flag.
Locatelli: “I’m really happy because here it is incredible. For me this track is one of the best. This weekend was really difficult but we worked hard for this.”
While Binder closed out the championship two races ago, the fight for the minor places in the points was, and is, still wide open. The number of riders who exited the circuit during the race meant there were no changes in the points from places 2-9. The fight for second and third in the championship now goes to Sepang.
Bo Bendsneyder, Binder’s rookie co-rider in the Red Bull KTM Ajo Team finished in the points in 10th place and managed to avoid getting into trouble in any of the multi-rider crashes of the day.
Next Race: October 30, 2016 – Sepang International Circuit (MAL)
Results Moto3 Phillip Island 2016
1. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, 16:22.009 min (10 laps restart)
2. Andrea Locatelli (ITA), KTM, +5.937 sec
3. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, +9.594
4. Darryn Binder (RSA), Mahindra, +9.642
5. Livio Loi (BEL), Honda, +9.680
10. Bo Bendsneyder (NED), KTM, +10.358
12. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), KTM, +10.569
14. Philipp Oettl (GER), KTM, +10.979
15. Maria Herrera (ESP), KTM, +13.763
19. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA), KTM, +50.454
DNF Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG), KTM
DNF Nicolo Bulega (ITA), KTM
DNF Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM
DNF Joan Mir (ESP), KTM
DNF Juanfran Guevara (ESP), KTM
Standings Moto3 2016 after 16 of 18 rounds
1. Binder, 294 points
2. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda, 164
3. Jorge Navarro (ESP), Honda, 143
4. Bulega, 129
5. Mir, 124
8. Romano Fenati (ITA), KTM, 93
10. Locatelli, 85
12. Oettl, 77
14. Quartararo, 68
16. Bendsneyder, 59
21. Migno, 47
22. Guevara, 40
24. Rodrigo, 22
27. Dalla Porta, 14
31. Herrera, 7