Brad Binder is the new Moto3 champion after finishing just 0.030s behind race winner Jorge Navarro at Aragon.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider has become the youngest ever South African to win a world championship, after he beat his main rival, Enea Bastianini, over the line after a dramatic 20 lap scrap in Spain.
Bastianini had an outside chance of the title ahead of today’s race and despite starting from pole he knew it was a hard ask to topple the Binder and his 106 points lead.
At the green light, polesitter Bastianini got a storming start to lead the pack into turn one. Near the back Fabio Spiranelli and Stefano Valtulini crashed out as they hit the first corner, as Binder made a charge through from fifth on the grid to fourth.
Moments later another there was another drama as Nicolo Bulega, Jakub Kornfeil and Maria Herrera crashed out. Herrera was able to re-join but the others were out.
Up at the front, Navarro stuffed his Estrella Galicia 0.0 Honda past Bastianini’s Gresini Racing bike to take the lead, and so began the theme for the rest of the race. Binder was up to third by the middle of the second lap and eyeing the front.
Bastianini was back in front a lap later and for two laps it was a straight fight between the Italian and Spain’s Navarro, with Philip Oettl coming into play on the seventh lap as he took the lead, although it was to be short lived.
Binder finally hit the front on Lap 10, as Bastianini’s team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio was also looking strong, and was showing no signs of favouritism to Bastianini as he passed him for second.
The rest of the race was a full on scrap between Binder, Di Giannantonio, Bastianini and Navarro. Binder led much of it, but after dropping back to fifth earlier on, Navarro came good with three laps to go as he hit the front.
Binder had been dropped to fourth behind the Gresini boys but he wasn’t done yet. Bastianini led onto the final lap but Binder was on a charge, moving from fourth to third and then passing both Bastianini and Navarro before running wide.
It was enough to just allow Navarro to re-take the lead and take the flag, albeit by just 0.030s over the new world champion. Bastianini was third, just 0.107s further back with Di Giannantonio fourth.
“Right now it doesn’t feel real yet,” said a thrilled Binder. “In the race it was difficult but it came down to that final lap and I gave it a go.
“I was just so terrible in the last corner but today we lost the battle but we won the war. I’m really, really happy and I can’t wait for the rest of the season.”
Britain’s John McPhee crossed the line 13th aboard his Peugeot MC Saxoprint machine.