Motorcycle Racing

Binder wins wild sprint from Bagnaia

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Binder locked horns with team-mate Jack Miller for victory in the sprint race, making a decisive move on the penultimate tour before scampering 0.428 seconds clear to the chequered flag.

Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia was second after passing Miller on the last lap to close to three points off the championship lead, after VR46 Ducati’s Marco Bezzecchi could only manage ninth in a chaotic afternoon.

The 12-lap sprint was red-flagged on the opening lap after Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli made contact with Alex Marquez at Turn 2 and tipped both into a crash.

Morbidelli’s errant machine found itself in the path of Bezzecchi, who could do nothing to avoid it and also went down. Tech3 GASGAS rider Augusto Fernandez had his own incident at the crash site.

A fire on Bezzecchi’s Ducati forced the race to be stopped. All riders were able to take the restart, which was run over 11 laps.

Miller grabbed the holeshot off the line from poleman Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia at the original start, and at the restart it the latter found himself overhauled by both KTM’s again.

This time it was Binder who took the lead from Miller, while both Pramac’s Jorge Martin and Bagnaia quickly moved Espargaro down to fifth across the opening lap.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Miquel Liso

Miller and Martin engaged at Turn 9, with the Pramac rider taking second before Miller retaliated into the Dani Pedrosa corner at Turn 6.

Martin tried to repeat his Turn 9 move seconds later, but ran slightly wide and allowed Miller to come back into second.

Miller proceeded to hunt down team-mate Binder and took the lead from him into the last corner at the end of lap three.

The Australian held firm until lap nine, when Binder launched his first attack as he tried to outbrake his team-mate into Turn 6.

Binder got all out of shape and couldn’t hold the line. He made a similar attempt on lap 10, and though he ran wide at Turn 6 he was able to scythe up the inside of Miller at the following corner.

Once in the lead, Binder immediately pulled away by four tenths as Miller fell victim to Bagnaia’s advances at Turn 6 on the final lap.

Martin hoped to capitalise on the battling ahead but had to settle for fourth, as RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira fended off KTM wildcard Pedrosa, who completed the top six in his first ever MotoGP sprint race.

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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