Brad Binder bags victory at Sepang, Alex Marquez secures Moto2 title
Brad Binder secured his second win in a row in the Malaysian Moto2 grand prix at Sepang while Alex Marquez took second to secure the 2019 Moto2 world title.
Binder got a superior start to snatch the lead from Marquez off the start, the pair immediately building a gap on third placed Nagashima.
A small error by Marquez at the final hairpin on the opening lap afforded the South African a small lead, but the championship leader was soon parked back on the rear wheel of the KTM ahead.
He then pressured Binder into a mistake at the penultimate corner and moved back into the lead, Binder pushed back to third behind Nagashima as a result of his error.
The three-time winner was quickly back up to speed though, passing the SAG machine into Turn 1 just seconds later and quickly reducing the lead advantage, ultimately regaining the lead from Marquez into Turn 1 just prior to mid-distance.
He was never headed past this point, keeping a consistent gap to the chasing Marc VDS man behind while Tom Luthi began to edge closer to the rear of the leading two after dispatching Nagashima.
The now leading trio remained within a couple of seconds of each other across the second half of the contest, Marquez in the perfect position to wrap up his second grand prix-level motorcycle championship after his 2014 Moto3 success.
This was how it remained to the flag, Binder crossing the line just half-a-second clear of Marquez with Luthi a similar margin back from the new world champion in third.
Xavi Vierge came out on top of the close battle for fourth in the closing stages as Nagashima faded towards the chasing pack, Jorge Navarro following the Frenchman home to round out the top five for Speed Up.
Iker Lecuona was sixth on his American Racing KTM ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri’s Pons Kalex, with Nagashima a disappointing eighth at the flag having challenged for a maiden podium early in the race.
Marcel Schrotter came home a distant ninth while Luca Marini closed out the top ten positions for his VR46 squad.
Many of the intermediate class rookies of 2019 found the race hard going as no less than four all crashed out at some point as Enea Bastianini, Jorge Navarro, Jorge Martin as well as Marco Bezzecchi all tumbled out of top ten placings.
Sam Lowes also crashed out after recovering solidly from a grassy moment on the opening tour, the Brit getting back to 13th before out-braking himself at Turn 9 and clattering into the back of Remy Gardner.
The Aussie was able to continue to an eventual 14th place result, while Lowes went down and retired on the spot.
With Marquez having secured the championship a round early all attentions now turn to who can take the runners-up spot behind, Binder having now moved four points clear of Luthi into second overall following his win with just the finale at Valencia in two weeks time remaining while Navarro also remains in contention.