Binder wins Argentina MotoGP Sprint from 15th

Brad Binder won the Argentina MotoGP Sprint race

Brad Binder won the Argentina MotoGP Sprint race

Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder produced a sensational performance to win the Argentina MotoGP Sprint race from 15th on the grid.

The South African had qualified on the fifth row in mixed conditions, but Binder made a lightning-fast start, hauling himself up to fourth on the opening lap in the dry at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.

He snatched the lead on the third lap from Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha) and stayed in front until the finish, when he had to dig deep on the last lap to fend off a determined charge from runner-up Marco Bezzecchi on the VR46 Ducati by 0.072s.

Bezzecchi’s team-mate, Luca Marini, rounded out the top three positions on the podium, eight tenths down on the winner.

Pole man Alex Marquez claimed fifth on the Gresini Ducati with world champion Francesco Bagnaia (Lenovo Ducati) – who qualified on the front row in third – in sixth.

Aleix Espargaro, who sealed his first premier class victory and Aprilia’s maiden MotoGP triumph in Argentina last year, crashed out on Lap 9.

At the start of the 12-lap race, Morbidelli powered into the lead but ran wide at Turn 1, with Marquez capitalising on his error. Marini was third ahead of Binder, followed by Maverick Viñales on the Aprilia.

Morbidelli then moved ahead of Marquez for the lead on the factory Yamaha, but there was an early exit for Repsol Honda’s Joan Mir, who slid off at Turn 7. Mir was taken to the circuit medical centre for a check-up.

On Lap 2, Marquez had a moment out of Turn 3, allowing Binder to draft past into second behind Morbidelli. Marini also picked off Marquez to move third.

Binder set a fastest lap in 1:39.782s as he began to pursue Morbidelli.

KTM’s Binder then hit the front with a pass underneath Morbidelli as the top five began to close up.

In a frantic race, Bagnaia was pressing Marquez for fourth, while Viñales cut underneath team-mate Espargaro to inherit seventh behind Bezzecchi.

Italian Bezzecchi then made a pass on Bagnaia for fifth as the top four of Binder, Morbidelli, Marini and Marquez remained unchanged.

At the midway point, Bagnaia and Marquez traded places for fourth, before Marquez then dropped back to sixth behind Bezzecchi, who earlier appeared to lose some of his bodywork after contact with team-mate Marini.

Binder was now 0.367s ahead of Morbidelli on Lap 7 with Marini hanging onto third, four tenths clear of Bagnaia.

Bezzecchi, though, was on the move and climbed to fourth with an overtake on Bagnaia on the following lap.

Binder’s lead was now up to six tenths over Morbidelli, who then slipped to third after Marini squeezed past, with Bezzecchi also dispatching the Yamaha rider soon after.

Still holding sway at the front, Binder had opened a clear advantage but Bezzecchi powered into second past team-mate Marini and now had his sights set on the race leader on Lap 10.

Morbidelli held fourth from Bagnaia, Marquez, Viñales and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha).

Bezzecchi was upping the ante and recorded a fastest lap in 1:38.777s to reduce the deficit to Binder with two laps to go, but the KTM man still had a cushion of half a second.

He led onto the final lap by 0.402s from Bezzecchi, but the determined Ducati rider quickly closed right onto his rear wheel.

On a breathless last lap, Bezzecchi was all over Binder’s KTM. However, the 27-year-old defended his lines to close out a narrow victory by a few hundredths of a second.

Marini was safe in third ahead of Morbidelli, while Marquez found his way past Bagnaia for fifth.

Viñales took the flag in seventh from Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati).

Quartararo brought his Yamaha home in ninth while Australia’s Jack Miller finalised the top 10 on the Red Bull KTM.

Bagnaia continues to lead the World Championship standings after the Sprint race by 13 points from Viñales, with Bezzecchi third, three points further adrift.

Binder has climbed three positions to fourth after his win, demoting Alex Marquez to fifth.

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