Mugello Moto3: Binder wins epic slipstream battle to stretch points lead
Brad Binder came out on top in a nailbiting slipstreaming epic at Mugello to extend his Moto3 points advantage as his main title rivals failed to score.
The 20-lap race saw the top-five finishers covered by less than a tenth of a second, as Binder prevailed over Fabio di Giannantonio by a mere 0.038s.
Having seized the advantage on the run down to the first corner at the start of the final lap, the South African just gave himself the margin he needed to protect his lead as Francesco Bagnaia and Fabio Quartararo battled over second place.
"Today's race was crazy - I was in first, 10th, eighth; it was so difficult to plan," said Binder. "But I tried to keep back in the group so I could arrive on the final lap at least in the top three."
Both Bagnaia and Quartararo found themselves outdragged on the run to the finish by 17-year-old rookie di Giannantonio, who had scored no points prior to Mugello.
Mahindra rider Bagnaia hung for third, marking his third podium visit of the year, as Niccolo Antonelli pipped Quartararo for fourth place.
Completing in the top 10 were Hiroki Ono, Joan Mir, Niccolo Bulega, Juanfran Guevara and Andrea Migno, who had started second but couldn't sustain his early speed.
Fenati, Navarro in trouble
It was a disastrous race for Binder's chief championship adversaries, as Romano Fenati and Jorge Navarro both failed to make the finish.
Poleman Fenati fell out of contention when his Sky Racing KTM suffered a mechanical problem at the halfway stage, the Italian having been in the thick of the lead fight up to that point.
A short time after, Navarro found himself in the gravel at the last corner after making contact with Guevara, while his Estrella Galicia Honda teammate Aron Canet also fell at the final turn on the last lap.
Earlier on the final tour, Argentina winner Khairul Idham Pawi crashed out of the leading group, having led a race for the first time since his Termas de Rio Hondo triumph early on.
Binder now leads the championship by 49 points from Navarro, with Fenati a further 11 back in third.
|1||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM RC 250 GP||39:49.382|
|2||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Gresini Racing Moto3||Honda NSF250RW||+0.038|
|3||Francesco Bagnaia||ASPAR Mahindra Team Moto3||Mahindra MGP30||+0.069|
|4||Niccolo Antonelli||Ongetta-Rivacold||Honda NSF250RW||+0.075|
|5||Fabio Quartararo||Leopard Racing||KTM RC 250 GP||+0.077|
|6||Hiroki Ono||Honda Team Asia||Honda NSF250RW||+1.037|
|7||Joan Mir||Leopard Racing||KTM RC 250 GP||+1.532|
|8||Nicolo Bulega||SKY Racing Team VR46||KTM RC 250 GP||+1.538|
|9||Juan Francisco Guevara||RBA Racing Team||KTM RC 250 GP||+1.567|
|10||Andrea Migno||SKY Racing Team VR46||KTM RC 250 GP||+1.762|
|11||Jules Danilo||Ongetta-Rivacold||Honda NSF250RW||+1.791|
|12||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Racing Moto3||Honda NSF250RW||+1.792|
|13||Gabriel Rodrigo||RBA Racing Team||KTM RC 250 GP||+1.933|
|14||Jorge Martin||ASPAR Mahindra Team Moto3||Mahindra MGP30||+2.011|
|15||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Schedl GP Racing||KTM RC 250 GP||+2.041|
|16||Livio Loi||RW Racing GP BV||Honda NSF250RW||+2.391|
|17||Jakub Kornfeil||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||Honda NSF250RW||+2.434|
|18||Bo Bendsneyder||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM RC 250 GP||+2.577|
|19||Tatsuki Suzuki||CIP-Unicom Starker||Mahindra MGP30||+2.775|
|20||Karel Hanika||Platinum Bay Real Estate||Mahindra MGP30||+4.289|
|21||Maria Herrera||MH6 Team||KTM RC 250 GP||+4.916|
|22||Adam Norrodin||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||Honda NSF250RW||+34.654|
|23||John McPhee||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||Peugeot MGP30||+34.692|
|24||Stefano Valtulini||3570 Team Italia||Mahindra MGP30||+34.739|
|25||Lorenzo Petrarca||3570 Team Italia||Mahindra MGP30||+42.628|
|R||Aron Canet||Estrella Galicia 0,0||Honda NSF250RW|
|R||Fabio Spiranelli||CIP-Unicom Starker||Mahindra MGP30|
|R||Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda Team Asia||Honda NSF250RW|
|R||Andrea Locatelli||Leopard Racing||KTM RC 250 GP|
|R||Jorge Navarro||Estrella Galicia 0,0||Honda NSF250RW|
|R||Romano Fenati||SKY Racing Team VR46||KTM RC 250 GP|
|R||Darryn Binder||Platinum Bay Real Estate||Mahindra MGP30|
|R||Alexis Masbou||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||Peugeot MGP30|
Bagnaia certain of pace to fight for Mugello win
Mugello best weekend of my career, says Bagnaia