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Binder takes the Moto3™ title!
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) began his journey to world champion as a Red Bull Rookie in 2009, scoring 17 points and ending his first year in 14th place. That proving a benchmark to be bettered the year after, the South African returned to the series in 2010 and made some serious progress up the standings to finish the year in fifth - as well as taking three podiums.
How the Rookies Cup prepared Binder to be Moto3™ champion
The year after was a true breakthrough for the future world champion, as Binder began the year with a P2 from pole in Race 1 in Jerez and then next time out at Estoril went one better to take his maiden win in spectacular style. 2011 also saw Binder enjoy his first forays in the lower class of Grand Prix racing as the South African took part in five races.
2012 was his first full time entry onto the world stage with RW Racing GP, and he took 24 points in a solid rookie season, using that as a foundation for the year after. The South African moved to Ambrogio Racing for 2013 and started to make inroads in the top ten on a regular basis, including a fourth place finish in Jerez from P4 on the grid. Almost tripling his points score to 66, Binder ended the year in 13th in the title and was ready for the next step: get on the podium.
2014 was the year Binder first enjoyed the taste of cava on the world championship stage, as the South African made more leaps forward and garnered a grand total of 109 points during the season. He set his first fastest lap, too - but more importantly got his first two rostrum finishes, one at the Sachsenring mid-season, followed up by another at the Twin Ring Motegi on the flyaway stint later in the year. The stage was set for a move to Red Bull KTM Ajo, with Binder ready to join a team so often a title-challenger in the lower class.
More fastest laps and more podiums followed in 2015 in his new home, and Binder's P6 in the championship by the end of the year proved the springboard for his 2016 campaign. Beginning the year with three podiums in a row and a pole position in Argentina, the fuse on his championship challenge was really lit at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez, in which he took his maiden win. Starting from the back of the grid after a technical infringement, the South African fought his way back through with almost unbelievable aggression and speed, soon heading the second group and on the way to catching the front freight train in the Moto3™ battle. Arriving with laps to spare, the 2016 Moto3™world champion then passed his rivals and tucked back in - taking the victory with a comfortable margin and announcing his intentions for the year. With his first win under his belt, Binder's success simply continued to roll, winning the two subsequent races and suffering only one DNF in wet conditions in Brno; crashing out the lead in the Czech GP proving the only blot on his 2016 record.
Four more wins, three more pole positions and a stunning 106 point margin upon arrival to the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon in September saw Binder with his first mathematical shot at the title - and the odds were not long. With only 100 points left to play for after MotorLand, the South African only had to see the flag on Sunday with an advantage of the same or more - with the pressure on rivals Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) and Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) to push for the victory for a chance to take the title fight to the flyways.
Qualifying in P7 and then keeping his cool despite the crown waiting for him at the finish line, Binder raced how he knows how - to win. With Bastianini and Navarro initially breaking away at the front, the South African kept himself in it and laid it on the line into the final corner - not quite enough for the victory, but more than enough for the championship as he crossed the line only 0.030 off winner Navarro.
Binder is the first man ever to be crowned at MotorLand Aragon, becoming the third South African champion in history after one of the most incredible title campaigns in recent seasons.
Highlights: Binder secures Moto3™ title
8 months ago