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Binder ready to fight off Italian charge

Binder ready to fight off Italian charge

Two victories and an ever-growing lead have Brad Binder sitting confidently atop the championship but the Italians will be out in force.

The French GP produced a thrilling battle in the lightweight class, four riders battling with each other for the entirety of the race. As in Jerez it was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who came out on top, taking his second victory of the year and of his career. The South African’s lead now stands at 24 points, almost a whole race victory ahead of Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0). His lead may be sizeable but Binder knows as well as anyone that there’s no time to rest, Mugello always producing exciting and highly tactical Moto3™ races.

Never in the history of the Moto3™ World Championship have first and second place riders in Mugello been separated by more than 0.1s, the races always coming down to a drag to the finish line. Jorge Navarro will no doubt bear this in mind as he looks for his first World Championship victory having once again just missed out in France. The Spaniard needs to start beating Binder and reduce his lead, the South African only getting faster with each win.

Of all the riders in the Moto3™ class, Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) is certainly the most successful at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM. The Italian has taken three podiums at his home circuit including victory in 2014. Fenati’s consistency is improving, especially in Qualifying, but like Navarro he needs to start beating Binder to keep his championship ambitions alive. No doubt the home fans will give their full support to the feisty Italian.

Fenati won’t be the only Italian out looking for victory, his teammate, Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46), has already shown he can battle with the best after a debut podium in Jerez. A highside in Le Mans had him less than fully fit for the race, but expect Bulega to be back and as strong as ever in Mugello. 55 points behind Binder, a championship challenge is likely a bridge too far but Fenati has to watch his back, Bulega 20 points behind. Having raced in the Italian championship before heading to the Spanish series, Bulega has at least some amount of track knowledge.

All eyes were on Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) after he took the first victory of the year in Qatar, but he has since failed to finish inside the top five. Antonelli certainly has the speed to win but is also known to crash too often, upsetting the rhythm of his weekends. His teammate Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold) will also be out to turn his season around after a disappointing weekend at home in France.

Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3) leads Mahindra’s efforts in the World Championship, sixth with 38 points. While many may expect the Mahindra, which has classically struggled with top end speed, to have difficulties down Mugello’s incredible straight, the MGP3O was twice finished fourth three times in 2015, 2014 and 2013. One to watch, especially if there’s a slipstream for him to take advantage of.

The gaggle of Italians will be begin attempting to overthrow Binder from Free Practice 1, which begins at 09:00 Local Time on Friday the 20th of May.


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