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Highlights: High-octane chess in Moto3™
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) has won a stunning two-man tactical duel with Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Mto3) at Misano World Circuit, with Leopard Racing rider Joan Mir completing the podium after a storming ride for the rookie from P16 on the grid.
Binder: "I wait till the last lap"
Clear blue was the view above Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli as Moto3™ headed out on track to get down to business, and it was Friday pacesetter Enea Bastianini who got the best start and led through turn 1, with a great start from Row 2 for Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing) seeing him challenge polesitter Binder for second through Turn 2. The South African hit back as Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and teammate Aron Canet tagged onto the back of the front trio, with Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) then beginning a fightback after losing positions off the line.
Bastianini: "I'm angry about the last corner"
It was the Italian VR46 rider who switched the action up a gear as he moved up to the front, with Binder and Bastianini dueling with the Italian rookie at the head of the lead group. Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), who started well outside the top ten, was another who made short work of the early laps as he sliced through the field to join the front freight train - part one of his stunning ride to the podium complete.
Binder then hit the front, with Bastianini getting tucked in to reel the championship leader back in, and the two opened a gap on the chasers as a crash saw Jorge Navarro out of contention when he lost the rear at Turn 14 - leaving his championship chances with another big dent.
Mir: "The best race of my life!"
With ten laps to go, the race was a story of two duels at the front - Binder vs Bastianini as fast-starting Mir wrestled with Bulega behind. With Mir then told to give a position back to Bulega after exceeding track limits, the Mallorcan timed it perfectly to then immediately take P3 back, staying ahead throughout the last lap to just pip his old FIM CEV Repsol rival to the podium.
Bastianini was ahead at the start of the last lap, having chosen to take back the lead a few laps before after a good number of laps stalking the championship leader, and the Italian stretched some daylight in between himself and Binder before the South African put in one final push to take the 'Beast' back. Bastianini hit the inside line in the final corner, but avoided last lap drama to not push too far and cross the line in a well earned P2.
The lead for winner Binder, after a DNF for Navarro and previous P3 title contender Francesco Bagnaia (Gaviota Mahindra Aspar) only crossing the line in P21, sees the South African now an almost-unbelievable 106 points clear at the top of the standings - meaning the title is within reach at MotorLand Aragon.
Bastianini, for his stunning ride back onto the podium, took back P2 in the championship at his home GP.
Aragon now awaits, with the modern classic of a track waiting for Binder to try his luck with that almost-unseen chance: win the championship before the triple-header flyaways. With 106 points of advantage, Binder must only leave the Spanish track with a lead of more than 100 points to put both hands on the trophy.
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