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As the World Championship begins the traditional summer break, motogp.com takes a look at who has improved since 2015 and who is still searching for their past form.
With 2015 champion Danny Kent and runner-up Miguel Oliveira moving up to the Moto2™ World Championship, there was a big hole to fill in the lightweight class. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) has been the stand out performer of the first half of 2016, heading into the summer break with a 47-point lead. He also heads off with the honour of being the Moto3™ World Championship’s biggest improver, the South African a staggering 84 points further ahead than at the same stage in 2015. He's scored 159 points so far, that's more than double his 75 points from 2015.
In 2015 his only podium in the first nine races came at Jerez, in 2016 it is where Binder took his first win. And what a first win it was, the South African charging through the field after a last-minute penalty.
#SpanishGP: Moto3™ Full Race
It should come as little surprise that the second biggest improvement in the lightweight class has come from the man second in the championship; Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0). Even after missing Assen due to a broken leg, he’s 58 points better off than he was at the same stage in 2015. He’d yet to even take his first podium finish by the Sachsenring in 2015, now he’s challenging for a World Championship. Navarro's title ambitions, and points total, were boosted by the thrilling win in Barcelona.
#CatalanGP: Moto3™ Full Race
He’s yet to take a podium in 2016, but Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing) rounds of the rostrum for 2016 improvements. The Czech rider is 39 points ahead of where he was in 2015, having scored in all but one race. In 2015 he had 19 points after nine races, in 2016 he's tripled that number with 58
When 2016 began most had tipped Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) to again push for the title. After the German GP in 2015 he stood as Danny Kent’s chief-title rival and headed on holiday with 124 points. A broken wrist and two races out of the points have resulted in him collecting just two podiums and only 65 points from the first nine races. ‘The Beast’ has awoken, taking two podiums in the last three races but there’s a lot of work to do if he wants to re-create 2015.
Changing bikes can be tough, it doesn’t always work out – as has been the case for Alexis Masbou (Peugeot MC Saxoprint). In 2015 the French rider won in Qatar but in 2016 he’s failed to finish in the points even once. As a result he’s 41 points behind where he was at the same point in the 2015 season. A new gearbox in Germany had his teammate John McPhee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) fighting for the podium, so there’s hope on the horizon.
Qatar Moto3™ Full Race
Like Masbou, a change of bikes hasn’t really worked out for Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing). The French rider was hailed as the next Marc Marquez and was on the podium twice in the first nine races of 2015. Now on the KTM, a huge amount of bad luck and technical problems have seen him take a best result of fifth in Mugello. Quartararo has scored 35 less points than in the first nine races of 2015.
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