A nervy morning where all the eyes were on the world title’s faith started off with the main actors at the forefront, the only men to stop Brad Binder from making history contesting the race lead for its entire length. And they put up a respectable fight but, in the end, the unavoidable happened and South Africa crowned their first world champion since Jon Ekerold in 1980. With the title wrapped up, Jorge Navarro had to settle for an excellent win, joined on the podium by Binder and Enea Bastianini.
Poleman Bastianini had a great start while Binder was already attacking the front row starters. But there was no peace and quiet for the Italian as Navarro took the lead by lap two, the duo breaking away slightly from the chasing group led by Binder and including Philipp Oettl, Gabriel Rodrigo and Aron Canet, the top six already over a second away from the rest.
By lap six, Binder decided to throw himself in the battle for the lead, constantly switching places with Bastianini as Navarro tried to build a gap at the front. The mission was unsuccessful as Oettl didn’t need much of an invitation to join the podium fight either, taking the lead with thirteen laps to go, as the top ten was bunching together once again. The group also included an impressive Joan Mir, who jumped from twenty-fifth to eleven on the first lap.
Very efficient slipstream zones meant that not one rider managed to hold the lead for too much, Binder hitting the front for the first time with twelve laps to go and Fabio Di Giannantonio sampling his favourite hobby of the weekend: chasing the tail of the South African. Bastianini didn’t let his teammate have too much fun but a few mistakes saw both him and Navarro dropping back slightly from their championship rival.
With seven laps to go, Binder looked to get himself into a bit of trouble as Di Giannantonio took the lead with the benefit of a slipstream, Binder finding himself pushed back into the claws of his main rivals. He wasn’t worried for long, the world championship leader back to the front two laps later, the top four including Bastianini, Di Giannantonio and Navarro breaking free from the rest of the top eleven led by Mir. The impressive Spaniard held position to finish the race fifth.
In the final three laps, Binder ran wide and dropped to the back of the little group, Navarro needing no invitation to take the lead and leaving the title battle in murky waters. The last lap became the usual Moto3 insanity, Binder doing his best to claw his way back onto the podium. Starting the last lap fourth, the South African fought with Di Giannantonio and Bastianini to cross the line second, barely three hundredths of a second behind the winner.
With the world champion decided, Navarro’s win brought him back in second position in the standings, ahead of Bastianini, Bulega losing a bit of ground and dropping behind Joan Mir due to an unfortunate crash early in the race.
|4||4||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+0.162|
|22||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Honda||+30.459|
|25||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||KTM||+43.028|
|43||Stefano VALTULINI||Mahindra||11 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|8||Nicolo BULEGA||KTM||0 Lap|
|84||Jakub KORNFEIL||Honda||0 Lap|
|3||Fabio SPIRANELLI||Mahindra||0 Lap|