Brad Binder braved wet conditions on slick tyres in the closing stages of the Austrian Grand Prix to take his second career MotoGP win ahead of Francesco Bagnaia.
Binder was running a strong sixth throughout the contest in dry conditions, the KTM man keeping pace with the leaders but ultimately unable to make an impression as Bagnaia, Fabio Quartararo and Marc Marquez disputed the lead between them.
Everything changed though as heavy rain started to fall just seven laps from the end, conditions getting ever more treacherous across the final half-dozen tours.
Having already been declared a flag-to-flag race at the start due to black clouds closing in on the Red Bull Ring, Jack Miller and Alex Rins were the first to pit and switch to wet weather tyres with just five laps remaining.
With the leaders now struggling to even stay on their machines, all but Binder decided to come in and switch tyres-leaving the South African seven seconds clear of Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia and the mid-field group-led by Valentino Rossi-who elected to gamble and stay out.
Binder rode superbly to keep his RC16 on the straight and narrow as he sprinted clear of the riders on a similar strategy behind, with the track starting to really soak on the final tour.
Bagnaia and Martin meanwhile were carving through the pack with them now on the correct tyre’s for the conditions, shooting through to second and third respectively as the slick runners could barely remain on the circuit.
Binder had a large enough lead to hang on for his second career win though, taking the chequered flag 9.9 seconds clear of Bagnaia despite losing a mammoth 15 seconds to him on the final lap alone.
Martin backed up his win in last weekend’s Red Bull Ring event with a third rostrum of the year, while Joan Mir also craved through late on to bag fourth.
Luca Marini clung on for a superb fifth ahead of Tech 3 KTM man Iker Lecuona-though the Andorran came just a few bends from a first ever podium result having lost third at the death.
Quartararo ended up seventh after making up several spots on the run to the line thanks to the struggling Rossi and Alex Marquez, while Aleix really suffered over the final couple of tours as he fell to a disappointing tenth.
Miller’s early stop failed to pay dividends as he ended up 11th, while Marc crashed at Turn 1 while leading the runners that had pitted-the German GP winner having to make do with a solitary point for 15th as a result.
Title contender Johann Zarco crashed out prior to the weather drama from a strong top six position, the Pramac racer going down at Turn 9 once again this weekend, while Miguel Oliveira and Enea Bastianini also failed to make the end due to a crash and mechanical drama respectively.
Quartararo now holds a 47 point advantage over Bagnaia and Mir who are tied for second overall, with Zarco’s DNF seeing him a further two points adrift.