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13 days ago

Binder out for revenge in Germany

After a historic weekend in Assen and two weekends off, the lightweight class head for Germany.

Mahindra make history

History was made in Assen as Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3) took Mahindra’s first ever World Championship victory, the Indian manufacturer breaking the domination of Honda and KTM in the Moto3™ class. The celebrations have ended and now it’s time for Mahindra, as well as the rest of the grid, to focus their attentions on the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. Has Bagnaia’s win opened the floodgates for Mahindra or will the usual suspects fight back?

Championship leader Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is keener than anyone to get out on track at the Sachsenring after a disastrous, by his standards, race in Assen. The South African was punted off track and failed to finish on the podium for the first time in 2016. His championship lead remains more than stable at 48 points. Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0), his closest championship rival, will be trying to play catch up after missing Assen due to a broken leg. The Sachsenring holds a special place in Binder’s heart, as it is where he stepped onto the podium for the first time way back in 2014.

Great 1st day of testing here in Misano. ???? ???? @rob_ridefast

A photo posted by Brad Binder (@bradbinder_41) on

Before the German GP, KTM held a test at Misano with Binder running alongside the SKY Racing Team VR46. With Navarro’s title challenge rapidly fading, fellow KTM rider Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) stands as one of the few people able to stop Binder. The Italian lost out in the last lap madness of Assen, crossing the line in fourth but clawing back a few points on the South African. Fenati’s strongest finish in Germany came in 2015 when he was fourth, but he needs wins if he wants to challenge Binder.

The Dutch GP was a very Italian affair with Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) filling the podium with the tricolore. Both riders have gotten stronger and stronger with each race of 2016 and a return to the podium in Germany wouldn’t be a shock. Di Giannantonio is just two championship points behind his much more experienced teammate Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) as they battle for eighth.

Bagnaia’s victory moved him to fourth in the championship, now four points clear of Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46), who is leading the Rookie of the Year battle. Germany has always treated Mahindra well, Binder’s 2014 second their strongest result until Bagnaia’s win. But Bagnaia himself has never scored a point at the German track.

At the end of the Dutch TT, Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold) in sixth crossed the line just 0.161s behind Bagnaia, making for the closest top six finish of all-time. This took the record from the Australian Moto3™ race in 2014 when 0.242s covered the top six.

Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) will be in high demand as the only German rider in the lightweight class. He’s finished in the points twice at his home race and is a proven top ten finisher with a best result of fourth in 2016, achieved in Austin after a sensational pole.

As always the weather remains a concern in Germany, rain a real possibility. Rain had been predicted to come in Assen, but the track stayed dry and produced another exciting Moto3™ race. Check out the highlights below!

Highlights: Bagnaia takes maiden race win for Mahindra