Victory for SA’s Binder

TOP PERFORMANCE: Red Bull KTM Ajo South African rider Brad Binder, centre, celebrates his victory with teammates after the Australian Moto3 race at Phillip Island yesterday Picture: AFP
TOP PERFORMANCE: Red Bull KTM Ajo South African rider Brad Binder, centre, celebrates his victory with teammates after the Australian Moto3 race at Phillip Island yesterday
Picture: AFP

Moto3 champ keeps cool to take sixth season win in restarted race, brother ends fourth

Reigning Moto3 champion Brad Binder cruised to his sixth win of the season at Phillip Island, Australia, unfazed by a red flag interrupting the race.

Starting from pole, the South African kept his cool throughout the red-flagged and then restarted race, keeping a good buffer out front ahead of his closest rival, Andrea Locatelli.

Meanwhile, the battle for the final podium position heated up in the closing laps of the shortened 10-lap dash after the restart, with as many as 16 riders involved in the tussle.

Not that it was any concern to Binder, as the 2016 champion took a dominant win over Locatelli, with 5.937sec separating the two over the finish line.

A fair way back, it came down to Aron Canet and the winner’s brother, Darryn Binder, on the final lap for third.

Despite the valiant effort from Darryn after his lap-one crash, the Platinum Bay rider lost out on the finish line, with Canet slipstreaming past the South African – the two separated by mere 0.048sec.

Livio Loi was fifth, with Aspar Mahindra’s Jorge Martin sixth, the Spanish rider also progressing after stalling on the restart.

Meanwhile, Cal Crutchlow seized on a blunder by new world champion Marc Marquez at Phillip Island yesterday to win only his second MotoGP.

The Briton, who turns 31 next week and was competing in his 103rd MotoGP, capitalised when Marquez crashed out on lap 10 while holding a big lead.

Crutchlow maintained a solid race pace on his Honda to beat Italian great Valentino Rossi on his Yamaha by 4.218sec, with Spain’s Maverick Vinales third on a Suzuki Ecstar.

The race turned dramatically when Marquez, who claimed his third premier class world crown with victory in Japan last weekend, slid off his Honda into the gravel on turn four when in command.

Crutchlow swept to the front and held off the nine-times world champion Rossi until the chequered flag as Vinales and Andrea Dovizioso battled for third.

Crutchlow became the first British winner of the Australian MotoGP.

It was his second victory in premier class after he beat Rossi and Marquez in this season’s Czech MotoGP in August.

“Someone asked me last week what I thought about going to Phillip Island and I said I planned to come and win.

“It’s nice to win one in the wet and the dry because people only think you can ride in the rain when you win in it,” Crutchlow said.

“I thought my pace in the race was good, and better than in other years here.

“I was pleased to be able to take advantage when it came.”

Crutchlow had memories of his crash at the same corner two years ago when he trailed race leader Rossi on the last lap.

“I didn’t brake into that turn and took it quite easy,” he said. “I didn’t want to make the same mistake . . . I was quite confident I may have caught Marc, but when he crashed I tried to keep the same pace.”

Rossi greatly improved his chances of finishing runner-up this season with his second placing. He now leads teammate Jorge Lorenzo by 24 points heading into the final two races, in Malaysia and Spain.

Swiss Thomas Luthi pipped Franco Morbidelli on the line to win an exciting Moto2 and pull to within 22 points of French championship leader Johann Zarco with two races left.

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