The South African stuns on Saturday to win a truly epic Tissot Sprint at Termas de Rio Hondo
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). That’s it, that’s the sentence. The South African produced a stunning performance to win the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina Tissot Sprint from P15 on the grid, as Binder beats Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) by 0.072s. Luca Marini made it a Mooney VR46 Racing Team double podium with a hard-fought P3.
Breathtaking from lights out to chequered flag
It was a fast and ferocious start as Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) got a phenomenal launch to briefly lead into the first corner, but it was polesitter Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) who grabbed P1 early doors as the Italian ran wide. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) got shuffled down the pack on Lap 1, the Championship leader was P7 from the front row as Binder picked his way through the pack like a knife through butter – the South African was P4 on Lap 1 from P15!
This was breathless. Morbidelli was the new leader halfway around Lap 1 and led until Binder got the better of him on Lap 3, as the top nine raced line astern. Binder, Morbidelli, Marini, Alex Marquez, Bagnaia, Bezzecchi, Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing teammate Maverick Viñales and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) were split by 1.6s with seven laps to go.
Where do you look? Passes galore! Binder, Morbidelli and Marini became a stable top three for a few laps as a fierce battle raged on 0.5s behind. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) was clinging onto the back of Martin to make it a 10-rider lead group as we entered the final five laps.
With four laps to go, Binder’s lead was up to 0.5s as Marini swarmed all over the back of second place Morbidelli. The former made a move stick at Turn 9 as we saw Aleix Espargaro slide out unhurt, not the Saturday the 2022 Argentina GP winner was after, as Bezzecchi then followed teammate Marini through on Morbidelli. Moments later, Bezzecchi dispatched Marini as the Portuguese GP podium finisher locked his radar on Binder who was now 0.7s up the road.
Last lap time. The gap was down to 0.4s between Binder and Bezzecchi, with Marini 0.3s shy of his teammate’s rear wheel in P3. Binder held firm through sectors 1, 2 and 3, as Bezzecchi eyed up a final complex move. Binder defended well though and there was no way through at Termas’ famous penultimate corner for Bezzecchi, as Binder won the second-ever Tissot Sprint from P15. P15! An unreal effort from the KTM stalwart as the Mooney VR46 duo finish a brilliant P2 and P3.
Morbidelli held onto P4 to fend off Alex Marquez, Bagnaia and Viñales, as Martin pipped Quartararo for P8 as the latter picked up the final Sprint point in P9. The points scorers split by just 3.8s in a truly epic 12-lap dash.
After a Lap 1 crash, Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) is heading to the hospital in Santiago del Estero for further medical check ups due to pain in his ankle.
Up next: Sunday’s Grand Prix race
The Sprint delivers. Binder delivers. Now, the Grand Prix race awaits at 14:00 local time (GMT-3) on Sunday afternoon. Needless to say: don’t miss it!
1. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – 1:39.034
2. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.072
3. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.877
4. Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 2.354
5. Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 2.462
6. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 2.537
7. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 2.643
8. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 3.754
9. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 3.856
10. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 5.143