Brad Binder denies Thomas Luthi in Moto2 finale at Valencia, champion Alex Marquez crashes
Brad Binder denied Thomas Luthi to secure victory in the final Moto2 world championship race of 2019 at Valencia.
Binder made a strong start from seventh on the grid to run third by the exit of Turn 1 on the opening lap, before moving into second spot a lap later as race-leading team-mate Jorge Martin ran wide at the same bend a lap later.
The KTM Ajo man then began to pressure Luthi for the lead, although it looked as if the Swiss had the measure of him as he began to extend his advantage.
Binder refused to take it lying down though and dug deep, closing back down as shortened 15 lap encounter entered its second half.
The South African made several attempts to pass Luthi but ran wide every time, allowing the Dynavolt pilot to undercut him and re-take the initiative.
Binder finally made the crucial pass as he managed to get a superior exit from Turn 7 on the penultimate lap, diving down the inside of Turn 8.
He ran slightly wide, but so did Luthi and Binder was able to just block off the inside and consolidate his newly-found lead.
Binder was then able to put the hammer down over the final lap, extending his advantage to take the chequered flag 0.735 clear of Luthi, while Navarro denied MV Agusta’s Stefano Manzi his first rostrum at the death.
Manzi had recovered from a bad start-in which he dropped to seventh from third on the grid- to become part of the leading quartet over the closing laps, passing the Speed Up for third at Turn 7 on the final tour.
Navarro fought back though and re-passed Manzi at Turn 11, and despite the Italian looking to dive back past into the final bend he was unable to make it happen, coming home fourth just 0.140 away from MV Agusta’s first grand prix podium in 43 years.
Martin recovered to fifth after struggling for speed following his moment that cost him the lead, dropping back behind both Marc VDS machines after re-joining.
He managed to get back ahead of Xavi Vierge- who ultimately took seventh- and moved back into fifth as Marquez tucked the front of his Kalex at Turn 11 with just a few laps remaining.
Augusto Fernandez also managed to pass Vierge in the closing laps for sixth, while Luca Marini came home as the lead VR46 representative in eighth.
Fabio Di Gianantonio brought the second Speed Up bike home ninth while Sam Lowes completed the top ten in his last event for the Gresini squad.
Jake Dixon meanwhile starred for Angel Nieto, the Brit taking 14th and two points after defeating the likes of Enea Bastianani, Remy Gardner and Marcel Schrotter across the final stanza of the contest.
Binder’s win saw him extend his lead over Luthi for the runners-up spot in the championship after looking set to lose the position should Luthi have won, while Marquez’s DNF saw his victory buffer reduced to just three points.