Fabio Quartararo peerless in Portugal, but Brad Binder takes advantage of fast start
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JOHANNESBURG - A brilliant start from Brad Binder, in the third race of the MotoGP season, propelled the KTM rider to a top five finish at the Portuguese GP on Sunday.
Binder, starting from 15th on the grid, jumped off the line with impressive aggression, carving his way to seventh in the field. To the surprise of all, Binder’s KTM eked out an extra second on his ride’s projected time, and it pushed him into sixth for a couple of laps before Francesco Bagnaia of Italy seized the position from him to eventually finish second.
With seven laps to go, the then placed Alex Rins was forced into error, and crashed out of the race while chasing down Fabio Quartararo - the eventual winner - and a lap later Johann Zarco endured a similar fate, lifting Binder to fifth. With the race coming to a close, Binder came within touching distance to push for an unlikely podium, and had the race continued for a handful of laps more, could have found himself in the mix for a top three finish.
In the end, however, Binder would have to settle for an impressive fifth - his best finish of the season thus far.
Brad now has 10 points in the world riders’ championship, lifting himself to 12th. Teammate Miguel Oliveira, who won this GP last year, finished 16th.
Meanwhile, in Moto3, Pedro Acosta continued his rise with a second victory in as many races. The 16-year-old has now finished on the podium in all three races, and on Sunday secured his triumph by overtaking Dennis Foggia of Italy on the final lap. In doing so, Acosta became the fifth rider in the 73-year GP history to have started his career with a trio of podiums, and is also now the youngest rider to do so.
It was a race to forget for Darryn Binder, however, who was penalised by the stewards for dangerous driving during qualifying and started from the pitlane after previously securing eight spot. The Petronas Sprinta Racing rider never recovered from the set-back, and failed to make any real impact on the field.
He struggled to find rhythm and pace, and could not fight his way up through the field. A handful of crashes in front of Darryn did help the younger Binder to finish in 20th, but the GP will be remembered as a disappointing one for the 23-year-old as he finished 33 seconds behind the winner.
Binder remains third in the world rider’s standings, equal on 36 points with Niccolo Antonelli of Italy, but is now 34 points behind Spaniard Acosta, and three points behind second place Jaume Masia of Spain.
The next race is the Spanish GP on May 2.