MotoGP: Maiden win for rookie Brad Binder in Brno battle
Brad Binder has taken his maiden MotoGP victory in Brno after an epic ride to finish 5.266s clear of PETRONAS Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli while Johann Zarco held on to third after his long lap penalty.
From pole, Zarco didn’t get off to the best of starts, giving the PETRONAS’ the advantage needed as they set their sights on a third MotoGP win in a row. However, it was Franco Morbidelli who lead the way, controlling the race in the first half.
Championship leader, Fabio Quartararo suffered in the opening laps compared to his team-mate and was under pressure from Red Bull Factory KTM’s Pol Espargaro and pole-sitter, Johann Zarco. But it was Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro who surprised the Frenchman, Aleix used the PETRONAS Yamaha as a marker in qualifying and now found himself ahead of the Frenchman.
However, it didn’t last for the Spaniard, who quickly found himself under pressure from MotoGP rookie Brad Binder, who launched passed the Aprilia into the final sector.
Binder then set after Quartararo while team-mate Pol Espargaro was struggling to clear Johann Zarco. The South African moved up into second position as he passed Quartararo while team-mate Espargaro had cleared Zarco. However, on lap ten of the 22 lap Grand Prix, Espargaro ran wide at turn one, giving Zarco the opportunity to repass, but as the KTM closed the door, the pair touched, sending Espargaro into the gravel.
Johann Zarco was awarded with a long lap penalty, which he took like a champion. Knee down on the dirty, pretty much un-used long lap zone as if it was the normal racing line, and maintained third position over compatriot, Fabio Quartararo.
Further back, it was a tale of two different stories for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders. Valentino Rossi had the medium rear tyre strapped to the back of his M1 and was starting to make progress, clearing Aleix Espargaro and setting after Alex Rins but on the other hand, his team-mate Maverick Viñales found himself falling down the order, ultimately ending the Czech Grand Prix in 14th position, ahead of Alex Marquez.
Brad Binder held on to take his maiden MotoGP victory, the first South African to do so with Morbidelli claiming his maiden premier class podium. Johann Zarco completed a dream weekend, converting his pole position to a third place finish in the race, with Rins and Rossi completing the top five.
Miguel Oliveira completed the top six with Fabio Quartararo suffering in seventh ahead of a fighting Takaaki Nakagami and Jack Miller; Aleix Espargaro completed the top ten.
The Aussie was followed by the two factory Ducatis with Andrea Dovizioso leading Danilo Petrucci for 11th and 12th with Cal Crutchlow leading Viñales and Marquez home for the final few points.
Tito Rabat finished in 16th ahead of Bradley Smith and Stefan Bradl.
The retirements saw Pol Espargaro, Joan Mir, who was taken out early in the race by Iker Lecuona, all leave Brno with no points.
A short trip to Spielberg for round four of the MotoGP championship sees Fabio Quartararo carry a 17 point advantage over Maverick Viñales. Franco Morbidelli jumps into third overall, 28 behind his championship leading team-mate.
Andrea Dovizioso slips to fourth, although is tied on points with his fellow Italian. Race winner Brad Binder lies fifth, joint on points with Zarco in sixth, 3 points behind the factory Ducati rider.
After picking up no points in the first visit to Jerez, Valentino Rossi slips to seventh overall, 32 points behind the man who will replace him in the factory team in 2021, while Nakagami, Miller and Rins complete the top ten.
The MotoGP paddock now heads to Austria, for two races at the picturesque Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, the scene which has not seen Ducati be beaten. Will 2020 be the year the Bologna Bullets are de-throned in Austria?
Featured images: MotoGP.com