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Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) was a GP winner before the 2016 Motul Grand Prix of Japan, but that victory came at home in Misano in 2015. A consistent podium finisher of late, the ‘Beast’ had been so close to the top step but so far – fortunes reversed at Motegi as the Italian took an awesome last-lap lunge through to its winning conclusion, against none other than 2016 Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo). The Italian’s 25 points from the result also now see him a clear P2 in the standings with three races remaning, after key rival for the accolade, Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0), crashed out of the Japanese GP.
Enea Bastianini (P1): “It was a very difficult race, Binder always pushed very hard and in the early stages also Migno and Bagnaia were able to maintain a good rhythm. In the second part of the race Binder started to push even harder, opening a little gap, so at that point I tried to chase him. I succeeded, although closing the gap was not easy: our lap times were very similar, but in the last six laps I really gave everything I could, and on the last lap I managed to catch him. It was a great feeling to pass him at Turn 11. I knew that Brad would have been very fast in the straight, but in the previous laps I also saw him going a little bit wide on the exit of the corner that leads on the straight, so I tried to make the most of it. I took his slipstream and then I attacked him under braking. We did it, although it was not easy! I’m very happy: podiums are always beautiful, but the victory is another thing!”
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Bastianini: "It was now or never"