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Binder brilliantly battles to victory at MotorLand

South African notches up his second win of the season after an intense race-long battle, Bagnaia and Baldassarri complete the podium

After starting from pole position, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder produced a brilliant performance at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon to take his second win of the season, beating second place and Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) - who claimed a fourth straight podium finish on his 100th Grand Prix start - with compatriot Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) standing on the rostrum for the first time since Mugello.

Binder got off to a great start and led the opening exchanges ahead of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) after the Spaniard was able to get himself up to second from P4 on the grid, with Bagnaia slotting into fourth before overtaking Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP). Marquez was then able to slice his way through to the lead on lap three his home GP as the front trio then started to break away from the chasing Baldassarri and Schrötter.

Fourth place Baldassarri was reeling in the leading three though as Marquez’ pace at the front started to dip, with Binder and Bagnaia now swarming the number 73. Then, heading into Turn 16 at the end of the back straight on lap 13, the South African ran slightly wide. Bagnaia held the tighter racing line as Binder started to cut back, with the Italian tagging the side of the KTM rider – a heart in the mouth moment that cost Bagnaia third place at that point of the race.

Free: CONTACT! A scary moment between Binder and Bagnaia!

Not fazed by the incident, Binder continued to lock horns with Marquez and after two failed attempts, the 2016 Moto3™ World Champion made a move stick into Turn 12 on lap 15 – the two coming into contact on the exit. From there, the 23-year-old couldn’t be stopped and he went on to claim his second intermediate class win. Behind, Bagnaia re-gathered and made his way past Baldassarri on lap 17 after the latter was wide at Turn 3 before getting the better of Marquez – P2 for the Championship leader who now has a 19-point lead in the title race. Baldassarri and Marquez then found themselves in a dog fight on the penultimate lap, the former emerging victorious – third for Baldassarri, fourth for Marquez.

Fifth was Schrotter, a slightly disappointing 5.8 seconds back from the win after the German showed great promise throughout the weekend, with Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) securing sixth after starting P15 – a great ride from the reigning Moto3™ World Champion. Seventh was Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who also produced another comeback ride after starting 18th, the Portuguese rider loses valuable ground in the Championship in Aragon though.

Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was able to come out on top in the battle with Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up), 8th and 9th respectively for the pairing, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) recovering from a bad start to round out the top ten – the Spaniard slipped down to as low as 15th at one point after launching from P3 on the grid. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) was 11th, two seconds ahead of compatriot Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) who finished 12th as Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40), Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) and Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completing the points in 13th, 14th and 15th.

Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team) and Danny Kent (MB Conveyors – Speed Up) crashed – riders ok.

A ninth podium of 2018 sees Bagnaia increase his lead in the Championship over Oliveira as the intermediate class enter the final five rounds of the season. Will the latter bounce back in Thailand?

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