Binder grabs his first podium in Australia
Story: Donovan Fourie
Brad Binder had a sensational podium finish at the Australian Grand Prix at Philip Island, his first since joining the Moto2 Championship this year.
After qualifying in a personal best fourth place on the grid, he slotted in to second place behind his team mate, Miguel Oliveira, on the first lap followed by championship leader Franco Morbidelli. The trio kept these spots for most of the first half of the race until Binder ran wide with 15 laps to go, allowing his team mate to gain a large gap, and put himself in third place behind Morbidelli.
Phillip Island is a challenging circuit, especially on tyres, because the first three had built up a huge gap to the group fighting for fourth place, but Morbidelli and Binder showed visible signs of problems at this point allowing the trailing group led by Takaaki Nakagami to close the three second gap.
With Nakagami sweeping past Binder and Morbidelli, spots of rain started forming and Binder seemed to show a return of form, closing down the Jap rider as the spots of rain drops became more numerous. This led to a mistake by Nakagami leaving him sliding through the gravel trap at the very moment that Binder, despite the rain, set the fastest lap of the race with just two laps to go, allowing him a comfortable gap to Morbidelli behind him.
Oliveira took KTM’s first win, both a popular and deserved victory, but Binder made it all the more sweet for the Austrian manufacturer by giving them their first one-two finish.
“I’m really really stoked to finish on the podium. All weekend the bike felt good. We didn’t make many changes, instead I just tried to do as many laps as I could. In the race Miguel had a really good rhythm and I made way too many mistakes, but in the last few laps I started feeling stronger again.”
Next weekend the circus moves to Sepang in Malaysia. Binder is now 10th in the championship with 89 points.