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13 days ago
By motogp.com

Red Bull Ring prepares for Moto3™ battle royale

The second half of the season begins with a very familiar face still leading the lightweight class.

It’s all-new for the Moto3™ World Championship as the second half of 2016 begins, with the class set to tackle the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich head on. Everyone is fresh and healthy after the traditional mid-season break, ready to try and catch Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo).

The South African didn’t have the most spectacular of weekends in Germany, but his championship lead is still more than healthy at 47-points. Binder is one of only two riders to win more than once this season and has only missed the podium on two occasions. Two races without a podium has him hungrier than ever for the rostrum.

Even with his leg still healing, Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) managed to claw back a point on Binder in Germany. He’s had the entire break to continue his recovery and begins the final nine races of the year determined to win. With the points difference as big as it is, win is all the young Spaniard can do.

Behind the leading two are six Italians all fighting for national pride. Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) currently leads them in third place overall, but with only 35 points splitting all six it’s not over just yet. In fourth, Francesco Bagnaia (Pull & Bear Mahindra Team) poses the most immediate threat to Fenati’s ‘top Italian' crown, with rookie Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) also having proved a force to be reckoned with in his first year. The 2015 Moto3 Junior World Champion is only ten points back from more experienced compatriot Bagnaia in P5, having already taken a pole position and podium at the Circuito de Jerez.

Bulega isn’t the only rookie to keep an eye on. If it’s wet then Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia) steps forward as an immediate race favourite, as proven once again at the Sachsenring. The Malaysian has been simply impossible to catch in the wet and is the only rider other than Binder to take more than a single win in 2016.

The Moto3™ World Championship will be the first on track at the new Red Bull Ring – Spielberg, hitting the circuit at 09:00 Local Time for Free Practice 1.

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Highlights: Perfect Pawi wins in the wet

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