Moto2: Binder strikes for second middleweight win

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South African Brad Binder has converted his debut Moto2 pole into his second win in the middleweight class in today’s Aragon Grand Prix, taking the win as championship contenders Francesco Bagnaia and Miguel Oliveira battled behind him. Title leader Bagnaia came home in second, but it was Lorenzo Baldassarri that knocked Alex Marquez off the final podium spot as Oliveira stuggled to do better than seventh after a poor qualifying performance.

Binder got off to a great start and led the opening exchanges ahead of Marquez after the Spaniard was able to get himself up to second from fourth on the grid, with Bagnaia slotting into fourth before overtaking second place starter Marcel Schrötter. Marquez was then able to slice his way through to the lead at home GP as the front trio started to break away from the chasing Baldassarri and Schrötter.

Baldassarri was reeling in the leading three as Marquez’ pace at the front started to dip, however, and heading into turn 16 on lap 13, Binder ran slightly wide. Bagnaia held the tighter racing line as the South African started to cut back and the two just tagged each other for a heart in the mouth moment, but both stayed on and Binder stayed ahead. The 2016 Moto3 world champion then continued to lock horns with his 2014 counterpart Marquez and after two failed attempts, Binder made a move stick into turn 12 on lap 15 – with the two coming into contact on the exit. But from there, Binder couldn’t be stopped and he went on to claim his second intermediate class win.

Behind, Bagnaia recovered and made his way past Baldassarri after the latter went wide and was then able to get the better of Marquez – making it second for the championship leader who now has a 19-point lead in the title race. Baldassarri and Marquez then found themselves in a dog fight on the penultimate lap, with the former emerging victorious.

Behind Marquez was Schrötter in a slightly more difficult race after the German showed great pace throughout the weekend, with Joan Mir securing sixth after starting P15 – a great ride from the reigning Moto3 champion. Seventh was Miguel Oliveira, who also produced another comeback ride after starting 18th. The Portuguese rider lost valuable ground in the championship, but gained some serious positions in the race.

Mattia Pasini was able to come out on top in the battle with Fabio Quartararo as they took eighth and ninth respectively, with Jorge Navarro recovering from a bad start to round out the top ten – from third on the grid. Luca Marini was 11th, two seconds ahead of compatriot Simone Corsi who finished 12th as Augusto Fernandez, Iker Lecuona and Tetsuta Nagashima completed the points scorers.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer