In the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 class, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) took his third win of the season at the end of a tense race. The South African emerged triumphant from a ferocious five-rider fight that at one stage featured as many as nine riders. The performance was all the more heroic because the 23-year-old was in some pain from a fast crash at turn seven on Saturday morning.
Binder had to contend with staunch challenges from reigning Moto3 World Champion Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex), Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex), Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40 Kalex), Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing Tech 3) and Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing KTM).
The front group was reduced when Lecuona fell at turn two on lap seven, while Gardner and Baldassarri tumbled at turn ten on laps 13 and 23. Binder likened the encounter to a Moto3 shootout, with just 0.9 seconds covering the top four riders at the chequered flag.
In the end, the victory fight came down to Binder and Mir. Exiting the penultimate turn on the final lap Binder had a slide which gave Mir the chance to out-drag his ex-Moto3 rival to the line, but Binder held on to win by 0.036 seconds. After several races some way from the podium, Mir was rejuvenated, climbing from 14th place to fight among the top three.
Vierge got the better of Fernandez and Marini on the final lap to finish third, his first podium since the Argentine Grand Prix in April. Fernandez collected his best GP result in 23 starts with fourth, with Marini recovering from a difficult start to the weekend in fifth. Aegerter finished sixth, his best result of the season and only his third top ten in 2018, ahead of a relieved Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), who suffered a nasty crash in qualifying and passed a late fitness test in order to race. Jesko Raffin (SAG Team Kalex) was eighth with Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) ninth and Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up) tenth.
Both Moto2 title hopefuls had a difficult day. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) finished 12th, less than ten seconds behind the winner and just over a second behind his title rival Miguel Oliveira’s (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM). Bagnaia takes a 36-point lead into the last two races.