Moto3

Bastianini and Binder down to the wire

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Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) has taken an incredible photo-finish victory at the Twin Ring Motegi, with a last lap move on newly crowned Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder that saw the two then cross the line almost neck and neck.

The Italian also takes back second in the Championship standings with the 25 point haul, as EG 0,0 rider Jorge Navarro failed to score. Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) took his first career podium and Japan‰Ûªs first rostrum finish at Motegi since Hiroshi Aoyama in 2009 with a controlled ride to third as he fought off Italian duo Andrea Migno and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) - but was then disqualified for being under the minimum weight for bike and rider. Bulega therefore took the third place on his 17th birthday.

Despite a wheelie off the line, Migno managed to stay ahead from pole position as the lights went out ‰ÛÒ with new World Champion Binder and the South African‰Ûªs key 2016 rival Bastianini on the chase behind. An incident through Turn 1 then saw Jorge Navarro clip Leopard Racing‰Ûªs Joan Mir and lose control, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing) and John McPhee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) caught in the crossfire as Navarro slid out. With the three in the gravel trap, the Valencian‰Ûªs push to secure second in the Championship took a serious hit as key rival Bastianini disappeared in the front group and going on to take the win.

Attrition rates were high in the early stages of the race, with front end washouts causing some casualties. After the Turn 1 drama, one incident saw second EG 0,0 bike Aron Canet also slid out with 15 laps to go at Turn 9 ‰ÛÒ with Leopard Racing‰Ûªs Andrea Locatelli crashing just behind the Spaniard in a separate but simultaneous incident.

Binder was the leader of the front freight train, with Bastianini, Migno, Francesco Bagnaia (Pull&Bear Aspar Mahindra), Bulega and home hero Ono for company as the six riders made a break for it. After some more difficult races, Bagnaia was the superstar of Lap 1 as the Italian Mahindra rider moved up nine places from his starting position, putting himself right in contention.

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) was the man on the chase at the head of the second group, with key rivals for the title Rookie of the Year Bulega ahead, and Joan Mir further back in P12. As the laps began to count down, Bagnaia ahead began to lose traction and move back slightly into the second group, as Bulega started to struggle keeping the pace of the frontrunners. Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) emerged from the mid pack to eventually lead that second group, as Bulega found some pace again to close back in and get out of the clutches of the German rider.

Binder seemed to have escaped at the front before Bastianini started to fight back with only a handful of laps to go, the two clear at the head of the race as Ono and Migno squabbled over the final spot on the podium. The pressure was on for the South African, with the Gresini machine behind getting closer and closer until the two were locked together on the final lap.

Drama on that final lap saw Migno attack Ono for the last place on the podium as the Japanese rider fought to stay ahead ‰ÛÒ and the Italian clipped the rear of the Honda Team Asia machine, then getting flipped over the highside. Ono escaped to take the third place finish at home, with Bulega crossing the line fourth but then moved up to third as Ono was disqualified. Migno was able to restart and crossed the line P25.

Ahead on track, a patient and measured Bastianini waited for Turn 11 to make a move on Binder and made it stick, just keeping it on the track through the tunnel - the final drag to the line seeing both bikes on the limit. Side-by-side, the Italian took the victory by millimetres, denying the South African his sixth win of the year and taking his second career victory, after Misano 2015.

Phillip Oettl took fifth over the line to head the second group, with Fabio Di Giannantonio in sixth to score good Championship points once again. Bagnaia, after his early race heroics, held on the take seventh ‰ÛÒ ahead of RW Racing GP BV rider Livio Loi, who had also been third fastest on Friday in a good weekend for the Belgian. Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) took a solid top ten finish in ninth, ahead of teammate and rookie Mir.

Wheel-to-wheel and high octane as always, Moto3 will return at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit next weekend ‰ÛÒ with Bastianini now the man to beat as he sets his sights on keeping P2 in the standings.

Main Photo: Bastianini and Binder had to be seperated by a photo finish

MOTUL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN

Moto3 Race Classification 2016
1 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda 39'24.273
2 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM +0.017
3 Nicolo BULEGA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM +4.002
4 Philipp OETTL GER Schedl GP Racing KTM +5.119
5 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda +6.288
6 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra Team Mahindra +7.739
7 Livio LOI BEL RW Racing GP BV Honda +7.749
8 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Leopard Racing KTM +8.344
9 Joan MIR SPA Leopard Racing KTM +8.880
10 NiccolÌ_ ANTONELLI ITA Ongetta-Rivacold Honda +9.037
11 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM +12.332
12 Adam NORRODIN MAL Drive M7 SIC Racing Team Honda +13.525
13 Jakub KORNFEIL CZE Drive M7 SIC Racing Team Honda +18.818
14 Albert ARENAS SPA Peugeot MC Saxoprint Peugeot +21.263
15 Tatsuki SUZUKI JPN CIP-Unicom Starker Mahindra +21.291
16 Jules DANILO FRA Ongetta-Rivacold Honda +21.727
17 Marcos RAMIREZ SPA Platinum Bay Real Estate Mahindra +34.475
18 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM +39.950
19 Khairul Idham PAWI MAL Honda Team Asia Honda +40.177
20 Fabio SPIRANELLI ITA CIP-Unicom Starker Mahindra +46.804
21 Lorenzo PETRARCA ITA 3570 Team Italia Mahindra +49.085
22 Darryn BINDER RSA Platinum Bay Real Estate Mahindra +52.570
23 Maria HERRERA SPA MH6 Team KTM +52.682
24 Andrea MIGNO ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM +1'16.774
25 Juanfran GUEVARA SPA RBA Racing Team KTM +1'22.102
26 Shizuka OKAZAKI JPN UQ & TELURU KOHARA RT Honda +1'51.623
DNF Hiroki ONO JPN Honda Team Asia Honda 10 Lap
DNF Jorge MARTIN SPA Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra Team Mahindra 10 Laps
DNF Aron CANET SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda 11 Laps
DNF Andrea LOCATELLI ITA Leopard Racing KTM 16 Laps
DNF Stefano VALTULINI ITA 3570 Team Italia Mahindra 17 Laps
DNF Jorge NAVARRO SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda 0 Lap
DNF John MCPHEE GBR Peugeot MC Saxoprint Peugeot 0 Lap
DNF Gabriel RODRIGO ARG RBA Racing Team KTM 0 Lap

Moto3 World Standing 2016
1 Brad BINDER KTM RSA 269 Points
2 Enea BASTIANINI Honda ITA 164 Points
3 Jorge NAVARRO Honda SPA 143 Points
4 Nicolo BULEGA KTM ITA 129 Points
5 Joan MIR KTM SPA 124 Points
6 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Honda ITA 122 Points
7 Francesco BAGNAIA Mahindra ITA 120 Points
8 Romano FENATI KTM ITA 93 Points
9 NiccolÌ_ ANTONELLI Honda ITA 87 Points
10 Jakub KORNFEIL Honda CZE 83 Points
11 Philipp OETTL KTM GER 75 Points
12 Andrea LOCATELLI KTM ITA 65 Points
13 Fabio QUARTARARO KTM FRA 64 Points
14 Aron CANET Honda SPA 60 Points
15 Jorge MARTIN Mahindra SPA 56 Points
16 Khairul Idham PAWI Honda MAL 54 Points
17 Bo BENDSNEYDER KTM NED 53 Points
18 Jules DANILO Honda FRA 51 Points
19 John MCPHEE Peugeot GBR 48 Points
20 Andrea MIGNO KTM ITA 47 Points
21 Livio LOI Honda BEL 44 Points
22 Juanfran GUEVARA KTM SPA 40 Points
23 Hiroki ONO Honda JPN 28 Points
24 Gabriel RODRIGO KTM ARG 22 Points
25 Stefano MANZI Mahindra ITA 13 Points
26 Tatsuki SUZUKI Mahindra JPN 13 Points
27 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA KTM ITA 12 Points
28 Adam NORRODIN Honda MAL 9 Points
29 Maria HERRERA KTM SPA 6 Points
30 Darryn BINDER Mahindra RSA 4 Points
31 Albert ARENAS Peugeot SPA 2 Points

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