Malaysia Moto2: Binder on podium as KTM claims another 1-2
Story: Donovan Fourie
Once more the KTM duo of Miguel Oliveira and South Africa’s Brad Binder claimed a 1-2 as the they fended off challenges from newly-crowned Moto2 champion Franco Morbidelli in Malaysia. In fairness, it was more Binder challenging Morbidelli. Oliveira buggered off, pulling a lead of more than five seconds and was never seen again.
This is the second time in a row that KTM has taken a 1-2 after taking their first win last weekend in Australia, while Binder took his first podium in Moto2. Now, again, the KTMs have shown their newfound dominance at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
This is bad news for long time dominators, Kalex, that have taken all the top spots in the Moto2 Championship since Marquez won it on a Suter in 2012. If KTM are already running up front now with limited data, what are they going to do next year?
Binder qualified in eighth place, which may as well be pole position given his lousy qualifying performances this year. At the start, Oliveira got the holeshot from second on the grid and never saw another wheel again. Binder slotted into fourth behind fellow rookie Pecco Bagnaia and Morbidelli.
The trio held formation until near half race distance when Binder went up the inside of Bagnaia who was having increasing grip issues. The duo of Morbidelli and Binder pulled a gap on the young Italian, and as the clouds thickened overhead and spots started forming, Binder moved to second, getting faster as the race progressed in typical Binder fashion.
With three laps to go the clouds started spitting harder, causing change of surface flags to be displayed throughout the track, and Binder pulled a 4.5 sec gap on Morbidelli, crossing the line 2.3 sec behind Oliveira who was busy wheelying across the line.
“At first, during the opening three or four laps, I didn’t feel too comfortable,” commented Binder after the race. “But little by little I felt stronger as the race progressed; my bike was amazing and I have to thank my team for that. When I saw that it was beginning to rain, I told myself that I had to give everything and get away from Franco [Morbidelli]. To finish second is incredible: I want to thank my team again for all the effort they’ve put in, and I’m looking forward to Valencia.”
He is now ninth in the championship, not bad at all when you consider the start of the year when he was struggling to finish in the top twenty. Hopefully he will avoid unnecessary injury during pre-season testing this year, and should be a strong title contender next year.
The last race of the season takes place at Valencia in two weeks where, last year, Binder rode from 23rd to the front in the Moto3 class. Let’s see if he can keep the same form in Moto2.