BRNO, Czech Republic: Brad Binder created a series of firsts as he won the Czech MotoGP on Sunday to make come true “a day I dreamed about since I was a little boy.”
It was the 24-year-old Binder’s first MotoGP win in only his third race in the elite division, it was also a first victory at this level by a South African and for the KTM team.
Binder opened his MotoGP account at the main expense of Italian Franco Morbidelli on Yamaha’s satellite SRT bike and Frenchman Johan Zarco on a Ducati-Avintia who came third.
“My team put an absolutely insane motorbike underneath me this weekend,” said Binder.
“I had no idea we were capable of winning but I had a feeling it could be good.”
Behind closed doors on a hot and sunny afternoon, Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha-SRT), winner of the first two rounds of the season and world championship leader, finished seventh to increase his lead in the riders’ standings to 17 points over Spaniard Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) who was only 14th in the GP.
With reigning champion Marc Marquez still absent nursing a broken arm, Binder followed Quartararo in grabbing his chance.
Binder was the first rookie MotoGP winner since Marquez in 2013 and he was followed home by two more surprising frontrunners.
For Morbidelli it was a first podium finish.
“It was a nice race overall, I started well, I did what was in my plan, to make my rhythm and don’t overcook the tires,” he said.
Afer Binder overtook him on lap 13 and pulled clear, Morbidelli concentrated on preserving his first podium finish.
“I won’t do anything silly and try to bring the bike to the end and catch my first podium.”
Zarco started from pole but dropped down the field with a poor start. He held on to third despite disintegrating tyres and a penalty imposed for a collision with Pol Esparago which put the Spanish KTM man out of the race.
“He went wide. I was in, keeping the line and when we touch,” said Zarco. “I did not expect it and I think that he crashed.”
The officials judged the Frenchman was at fault and he had to ride a ‘long lap’ which meant following an outside lane on the big seventh turn.
“When I did the long lap, I expected three riders to overtake me. No one overtook and at that moment, I said, OK that can be good,” Zarco said.