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10 days ago
By motogp.com

Moto3™ World Champions: Where are they now?

A look back at the Kings of Moto3™ before Binder took the crown

2012 – Sandro Cortese

In the first year of the new Moto3™ category, it was German Sandro Cortese who took the title on an Ajo-run KTM. After his success in the lower class, Cortese moved up to Moto2™ the following year with Dynavolt Intact GP aboard a Kalex. The first year was more muted, before a first podium in 2014 saw Cortese back on the rostrum with a P3 finish at the Czech GP in Brno, in his 28th attempt. Another podium followed in 2015 with a third place finish at Motegi in Japan, but Cortese is yet to repeat the feat in 2016. After 67 GP starts in the intermediate category, the German is looking to up his podium count and get back nearer the front – staying with the Dynavolt Intact GP team once again in 2017.

2013 – Maverick Viñales

Spaniard Viñales took the Moto3™ title in 2013 aboard a Calvo-branded KTM, with the fight going down to the wire between him, Alex Rins and Luis Salom at the final round in Valencia. Three wins and 15 podiums in his Championship-winning year saw consistency prove the key, as Salom took seven wins and Rins six - Viñales finally took the prize in the last corner, on the last lap, in the last race of the year. Moving up to Moto2™ for 2014, MotoGP™’s newest race winner confirmed his incredible talent once again as he took victory in only his second race in the intermediate class, in Texas at the Circuit of the Americas. He went on to take another three wins that year, and his podium count as a Moto2™ rookie totaled nine.

After proving Rookie of the Year in Moto2™, Viñales moved up quickly into the premier class with Team Suzuki Ecstar as the Japanese manufacturer returned to Grand Prix racing. After a solid first year, promise became reality in 2016 as Viñales took his first podium in Le Mans at the French GP, and then followed it up with a breathtaking win at Silverstone in the UK. The win was the first for Suzuki since 2007 and Viñales is currently fifth in the Championship, behind only the Repsol Honda and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders – one of whom, legendary Valentino Rossi, will be Viñales’ teammate from 2017 as the young Catalan rider moves to the factory Yamaha team.

Highlights: Brilliant runaway win for Viñales

2014 – Álex Márquez 

After winning a race as a Moto3™ rookie in 2013, 2014 saw Marquez remain with the Estrella Galicia 0,0 outfit with whom he entered the paddock full-time, this time onboard a Honda. After a win at home at the Catalan GP with a stunning margin over P2, Marquez’ title charge really came alive, and the younger of the two Champions from Cervera went on to take another two wins and a total of ten podiums on his way to the crown. Taking the lead for the first time at another home GP at MotorLand Aragon, Marquez fought back from outside the top ten in the season finale in Valencia to take the podium finish he needed to lift the crown.

2015 saw Marquez move up to Moto2™ with Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, taking two fourth places as his best results in his rookie year, in Brno and at Silverstone. Often a top ten finisher, the then-reigning Moto3™ World Champion had a solid first year before preparing for bigger things in 2016 – but has seen his current season off to a tough start.

Injuring his hand in pre-season, Marquez’ early 2016 was marked by crashes out of contention – often whilst a frontrunner – before things began to improve and the results began to appear. With some top five results just head of MotorLand Aragon, Marquez then took his maiden podium at his home track, from the middle of the front row of the grid after just losing out on provisional pole. Marquez will remain with the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team for 2017.

Marquez: "The day I dreamt of"

2015 – Danny Kent 

The most recent Champion before Brad Binder is Danny Kent, who took Leopard Racing’s Honda machinery to the world title in 2015. After a dominant start that saw the Brit take five wins in the first nine races – some with incredible margins of victory – Kent had a tougher second half of the season as he attempted to lock down the crown, finally wrapping it up in the final race of the year in Valencia. Kent moved up to Moto2™ in 2016 with the same Leopard Racing, and despite his experience in the intermediate category in 2013, has had a tough season. With four races remaining the 2015 Moto3™ World Champion is yet to score a Moto2™ podium, with sixth his best result and a points tally of 28.

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GoPro™ Hang out: Danny Kent

2016 – Brad Binder

Brad Binder will follow in the footsteps of the Moto3™ World Champions before him, moving up to Moto2™ for 2017.  The South African will remain with current team Red Bull KTM Ajo, as the outfit expand to include an entry in the intermediate class. His teammate will be 2015 Moto3™ runner-up Miguel Oliveira, who moves from Leopard Racing to join the new world champion – and who rode with the Red Bull KTM Ajo squad when fighting Danny Kent for the 2015 Moto3™ World Championship.

With Cortese and Kent struggling and Alex Marquez joining them in the fight for traction in the intermediate class, Binder will be aware of the challenge ahead of him – and of the one name that stands out as the quickest, most stratospheric success story from Moto3™ as Maverick Viñales prepares to partner 9-time World Champion Valentino Rossi at Movistar Yamaha: only three years after taking the lower class crown.

Brad Binder's racing history