Brad Binder has taken a shock maiden MotoGP World Championship win for both himself and the KTM in only his third career race after a spectacular performance at Brno.
The rookie racer stalked his way into contention to overhaul long-time leader Franco Morbidelli with nine laps remaining before clearing off for a wholly unexpected success.
As well as being his first MotoGP win, the historic success marks an incredible first MotoGP win for KTM since making its full-time debut in 2017.
A topsy-turvy race that would see a number of riders without any victories to their name ascend to the fore, Morbidelli looked as though he was well on course for maiden success after grabbing the lead out of the opening turn before multiplying his lead over team-mate Fabio Quartararo in the initial laps.
Though Quartararo attempted to give chase, he instead found himself being hounded by an inspired Binder, who’d clawed his way up the order following a good start, even planting a robust pass on experience team-mate Pol Espargaro en route as he scythed up to the back of Quartararo.
Undeterred by the huge stage around him, Binder went on the attack to dismiss the championship leader Quartararo on lap nine with a pass into Turn 3, before setting off in chase of Morbidelli up the road.
With Morbidelli going against the grain with his soft rear, his pace began to slip in the second-half of the race, allowing Binder to quickly make gains before the South African wasted no time in making his move by snatching the lead with nine laps remaining.
From here Binder came up against no further competition, confidently moving clear of Morbidelli in a manner belying his inexperience at this level. Indeed, with no luck or high attrition to excuse the result, Binder’s performance was achieved on pure quality alone.
Becoming the first South African to prevail in the MotoGP class, the win further proves, it was needed, that KTM is now a front running contender in MotoGP
Morbidelli clung onto second position for his first MotoGP podium, helped in part by the following Johann Zarco being forced to take a long lap penalty after being blamed for a collision that eliminated Pol Espargaro.
Starting from pole position, Zarco slid to sixth initially after a bad getaway but impressed by picking his way back up the order on the unfancied Avintia Ducati.
However, he was controversially penalised when he slipped up the inside of a wide Espargaro at Turn 1 on lap ten, the Spaniard closing the door only to find his rival right up along side him before washing out into retirement. Disappointingly for him, such was the pace of the KTM at that stage in the race, a 1-2 finish looked on the cards.
Despite the penalty, Zarco held on for third, just resisting the late attentions of Alex Rins, who impressed with a slow-build of a race to grab a welcome fourth for Suzuki, while Valentino Rossi was the only Yamaha rider to come on strong in the latter stages to finish in fifth position.
Similarly, Miguel Oliveira consolidated KTM’s performance with a surge up the order from 13th to sixth position on the Tech 3 bike, his best finish in MotoGP and Tech 3’s best since joining the KTM ranks.
Championship leader Quartararo faded heavily with his tyres in the closing stages, haemorrhaging time to leave him seventh. Still, the Frenchman can take heart from the fact he still extended his lead after Yamaha counterpart Maverick Vinales endured a torrid day, steadily slipping down the order to an eventual 14th having started fifth.
Takaaki Nakagami was the best placed Honda in a solid eighth, ahead of Aleix Espargaro, who ran a feisty second initially on the Aprilia before slipping down to ninth.
With Zarco flying the flag for Ducati up front, Jack Miller and Andrea Dovizioso could only make ground enough for a lacklustre 10th and 11th respectively, ahead of Cal Crutchlow, while Danilo Petrucci went backwards on the second factory Ducati from seventh to 13th. Alex Marquez picked up the final point on a weekend to forget for the Marc Marquez-less Repsol Honda team.
As well as Espargaro, Joan Mir and Iker Lecuona were forced out after the latter’s attempt to pass at Turn 13 saw him and wipe out the hapless Suzuki rider.
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