Venue: Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
Distance: 23 Laps
Attempting to win his first grand-prix from pole position, Binder (Red-Bull KTM) was mugged off the line by both Enea Bastianini (Honda-Gresini) and Jakub Kornfeil (Drive MT-Honda) into the opening ‘s’ bends. After the typical opening lap shenanigans, a leading train of ten riders formed. With Kornfeil passed, Binder began to challenge for the race lead with his chief rival for the championship, Jorge Navarro. However the battle was short lived when, with 15 laps to go, Navarro crashed out . It’s been a torrid campaign for the pre-season championship favourite, and the non-finish here at Misano all but confirms Brad Binder as the 2016 Moto3 champion.
That crash enabled Binder and Bastianini to escape at the front, which gave fans a rare site in this class – a race being decided by just two riders. With slipstreaming being of huge importance, the race became an enthralling tactical duel. The Italian rider was content to slot in behind the championship leader on the track, and looked to intimidate his rival through the highspeed corners. With five laps remaining, Bastianini forced his way past the South African, outbreaking him into the hairpin bend at turn 14. It wasn’t to be a dream victory in front of an adoring home crowd, as Binder retook the lead with the exact replica move on the final lap. Although a dream result was denied for a home favourite, the fans were treated to a grandstand finish. For Brad Binder, he now commands the championship with a staggering 116 point lead. He just needs to finish second next time out at Aragon to be crowned Moto3 World Champion.
Behind them, there was the far more familiar scene of a train of riders all scrapping over the final podium place. Cynics may often refer to this class as ‘slipstream city’, but there can be no denying this helps produce exciting races, with trains of riders jostling for position throughout. Indeed, can any other racing series claim to produce such close wheel-to-wheel racing perennially? Johan Mir (Leopard-Honda) and Nicolo Bulega (VR46-Honda) led the battle, and pulled clear of the pack in the closing stages to provide an equally entertaining finale, with both riders refusing to give any quarter and running wide at the final corner, cutting each other up on the drag to the line. In the end, it was Mir who took the spoils, on the grounds of rejoining the track first in the eyes of race direction.
It’s been a weekend to forget for a number of riders. Most notably for Fabio Quatarraro, who received no fewer than four ‘reverse place’ penalties during the race, and twelve across the entire weekend for exceeding the track limits. Spain’s Maria Herrera will also be glad to see the back of the San Marino grand-prix. It’s been a torrid weekend for her, with the bike constantly suffering from front-end ‘chatter’ and an overly aggressive rear suspension setup which seemed intent on eating its tyres. Along with Dutchman, Bo Bendschnyder, her race ended in the gravel trap between turns 4 and 5 on the opening lap.
Race Result: 1- Brad Binder, 2- Anea Bastianini, 3- Johan Mir
Full results available at http://www.motogp.com