The races in the Moto3 and Moto2 classes were equally dramatic as it was exciting in the MotoGP class. While one saw a race restart and dominance, the other witnessed a photo finish.
Moto3: Binder “Saves his hair” in a shortened race:
2016’s Moto3 world champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took victory in a shortened 10 lap showdown down under after a horrendous pileup at the trickiest part of the track brought out the red flag.
The race started off in a dramatic manner as a first corner crash took out Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC), Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda team Asia) and Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra) out of the race, with many others continuing to push hard towards the win. But all went haywire on lap 6 when Saxoprint MC Peugeot’s John McPhee binned his FGP3O motorcycle at the top of Lukey Heights. (the topmost part of the circuit, followed by a blind drop down into the MG corner). The crash took out riders like Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing), Andrea Migno (Sky Racing VR46), Enea Basitaning (Gresini Racing). Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Jorge Navarro ran over Bastianini, crashing out and bringing out the red flag in the process. McPhee is diagnosed with a concussion and a broken thumb and will miss the Malaysian round which is scheduled next week.
With the field shrinking to 23 riders, race direction restarted a 10 lap showdown of the race. Brad Binder built up a mammoth lead up front as Leopard Racing’s Andrea Locatelli finished second ahead of the second Estrella Galicia 0,0 bike of Aron Canet, the rookie fighting off a certain Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate Mahindra) to the line on his Honda NSF250RW. Darryn finished as the top Mahindra rider ahead of Aspar’s Jorge Martin in 6th. Leopard Racing’s Fabio Quartararo was up in the mix in the first race but couldn’t continue the form and consistency in the restarted one, finishing in 12th position.
After a challenge by his crew that his head will be shaved if he doesn’t win the final 3 rounds of the championship, Brad Binder takes the win and increases his points tally to 292, his wins tally to 6.
Moto2: Luthi wins, Zarco struggles
Garage Plus interwetten’s Tom Luthi takes his second successive win as Johann Zarco continues his slump in form and other riders continue their form of crashes as well.
After dominating the proceedings in Saturday’s qualifying, Luthi finished in a dismal 17th in the morning warm-up whereas rivals Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini) and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP40) finished P2 and P4 respectively, throwing caution to the wind. This didn’t deter Tom as he stormed to the lead at turn 1 and battled hard with Estrella Galicia 0,0 MarcVDS’ Franco Morbidelli and ItalTrans’ Mattia Pasini for the win, with Jonas Folger up in the mix in P4.
Championship Leader Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) had a dismal start as he dropped down to 16th at the end of the final lap, recovering to finish in P12 at the end. Alex Rins started off well, finding positions rapidly as he slotted himself behind the leading pack in 6th position in 5 laps before he ran wide and crashed at turn 2. Sam Lowes too had a dismal start from P3 on the grid, dropping down to 9th place by the end of lap 1 and pushed over the limit to crash out of the race. Sam Lowes dropped his Kalex at turn 7 on the third lap, adding another DNF to his already long list of DNF’s this season.
The three-way battle continued between the veteran Swiss rider and the two Italians, Pasini crashing out with three laps to go eased the pressure on Luthi for a moment before Morbidelli took the lead into the final lap of the race. The two exchanged the lead multiple times before Luthi pipped the young Italian by 0.010 seconds, pulling out of Morbidelli’s slipstream just before the line.