Brad Binder leads KTM Ajo 1-2 ahead of Jorge Martin at Phillip Island
Brad Binder defeated KTM Ajo team-mate Jorge Martin for victory in the Moto2 Australian grand prix at Phillip Island, the pair separated by just 1.2 seconds at the chequered flag.
Binder managed to jump the pole-sitting Speed Up of Jorge Navarro off the start and lead the field into the first corner, while Martin managed to pass the Spaniard for second at Turn 4 having made a strong start from fifth.
The KTM duo then began to stretch away from Navarro over the subsequent laps, the two barely separated by more than half-a-second for most of the race.
Martin looked good to challenge his senior team-mate for victory heading into the final half-dozen tours, but Binder pulled the pin and started to build an advantage over the final few laps.
The South African-who was confirmed last week to be joining the factory KTM MotoGP squad next year- quickly stretched his gap to over a second, taking the chequered flag 1.9 seconds clear of Martin at the conclusion of the race.
Thomas Luthi secured the final podium position in what was ultimately a lonely race for the Swiss rider having moved clear of Navarro at around a thirds distance.
He was unable to live with the pace of the leading KTM’s however and spent the rest of the race managing his gap to the Speed Up behind that crossed the line fourth come the end of the race.
Lorenzo Baldassarri rounded out the top five for Pons Racing having come out on top of a close battle covering eight riders, with local man Remy Gardner following close behind in sixth place for SAG Racing.
Iker Lecuona recovered to seventh despite having to serve a long-lap penalty after taking out two riders on lap one, displaying similar pace to that of the leading factory machines on his American Racing KTM.
Lecuona out-braked himself into Turn 4, wiping out VR46’s Luca Marini who in turn collected Marco Bezzechhi’s Tech 3 machine-forcing the pair to retire.
Championship leader Alex Marquez struggled for speed to secure eighth, having been as low as tenth at one point ahead of Stefano Manzi’s MV Agusta and Tetsuta Nagashima on the second of the SAG Racing Kalex bikes.
Luthi’s third place therefore means Marquez has to wait until at least Malaysia next weekend to wrap up the Moto2 riders title, the Marc VDS man’s advantage now having been trimmed to 28 points with Binder now only 33 in-arrears with his victory.
Simply outscoring Luthi in Malaysia would secure him the championship, although losing less than three points would also net him the spoils.