Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder battled to his first Moto2™ victory of the 2019 season and where better to do it than at KTM’s home round, the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. It would end up being the perfect 24th birthday present for the South African after he held off a late charge from Championship leader Alex Marquez (Marc VDS EG 0,0) on the final lap, in a race that saw a handful of riders crash out of the leading group.
Binder took the holeshot from second on the grid and quickly began to break clear, settling into an early lead of just under a second. Behind, poleman Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) didn’t make the most of his debut pole but began to fight his way back through, eventually settling into third place behind Xavi Vierge (Marc VDS EG 0,0), who made a great start from the third row.
The Japanese rider then made his move for second place, easing past Vierge. However, the Spaniard would try to retaliate into Turn 3 but got it all wrong. The front end folded and it would be heartbreak for Nagashima as Vierge’s Kalex collected him and as a result, a debut podium finish was robbed from the likeable Japanese rider.
That left an almighty scrap for second place, which well and truly ignited on lap eight. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46), Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) all began to fight as if was the last lap. First, at Turn 3, Gardner and Marini swapped paint after all four had searched for the same bit of tarmac, but it didn’t end there. As the quartet flicked into Turn 4, Marini, Bastianini and Gardner ran ever so slightly wide allowing the man in fifth, Gardner, to swoop under all three and reclaim second.
Gardner then escaped from the madness behind and in just five laps caught Binder at the front of the race. However, the Australian’s first attempt to grab the lead from Binder failed after he ran wide at Turn 1, allowing Binder to jump back in front straight away.
With ten laps remaining, Gardner tried again to take the lead away from Binder at Turn 1 but he again failed after running wide and losing the drive down towards Turns 2 and 3. Seven laps were left now and Gardner again got his front wheel in front but Binder forced him to go the long way around into Turn 3. The inside line proved to be the winner, Binder held on and Garnder’s search for a debut race win began to get some desperate.
Meanwhile, Bastianini and Marquez, who had started from the fourth row of the grid, closed in and we had ourselves an eight-wheeler. Then, with six remaining, Gardner for a third time ran wide at Turn 1 but this time as he rejoined, the Aussie clipped the rear wheel of Marquez and crashed out.
It was back to four-wheeler before too long though, as Marini joined the hunt for the win after posting the fastest lap of the race. It would end up being a short-lived foray in the leading group, after the Italian tucked the front on the brakes into Turn 9 with just five laps remaining, wiping out his compatriot Bastianini in spectacular style too.
That left just Binder and Marquez to fight it out over the remaining laps but despite pressure from the Championship leader, the birthday boy held on to clinch a first win of the 2019 season and send the Austrian fans delirious, with orange flags and caps waved wildly all the way around the Red Bull Ring.
The final podium place went the way of Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up), a fifth top-three finish of the season, after moving clear of FlexBox HP40 teammates Lorenzo Baldassarri and Augusto Fernandez in the closing stages. Sixth went the way of Lüthi, who now sits 43 points adrift of Marquez ahead of the British GP.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin ended seventh, a quarter of a second ahead of his 2020 teammate, American Racing KTM’s Iker Lecuona. Rounding out the top ten were Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2).
1. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 0.330
3. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 1.839
4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40) + 2.183
5. Augsuto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) + 3.303
6. Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 4.645
7. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 5.200
8. Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) + 5.285
9. Marcel Shrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 6.973
10. Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) + 9.428
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