Brad Binder’s first ever race win was not only remarkable for the fact that it contributed to the rider becoming South Africa’s third world champion and first from his country in 36 years, but because he started from the back of the grid.
Since the Red Bull KTM Ajo team used mapping on the bike that was not sanctioned for use, a grid relegation meant Binder was demoted to 35th place. But this simply made him want to push harder.
“There was me, sitting behind everyone and wanting to prove a point.”
What seemed like an impossible charge through the entire grid saw Binder take every chance to pass, making his way to fourth place after just eight laps. The KTM rider pushed his way to the front past Nicolò Bulega, Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Navarro to defy the odds and win by a gap of 3.3 seconds.
A pivotal race in Jerez saw three of the “cleanest riders” involved in a multi-bike collision which dealt reigning champion, Marc Marquez, his second win of the season. The unbelievable incident occurred at turn 6 of lap 18, when Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa all crashed out.
As Dovizioso lunged down the inside of Lorenzo on corner entry, both ran wide and Lorenzo crossed over to the right of the Italian to retake his position. But this led to a clash with Honda rider Pedrosa on the inside corner, who was sent airborne, meanwhile Lorenzo lost control and collected his teammate in a clean sweep.
Describing the domino effect that ensued, Lorenzo stated:
“I don’t want to say ‘it is your fault or your fault’ because we are the three cleanest riders in the championship. It was very unlucky.”
The first European stop of the MotoGP calendar in Spain has featured some notoriously dramatic last laps and storming scraps, and sometimes it really does come to the last corner. This was the case in 1996 with Mick Doohan and home hero Alex Criville’s historic battle.
While scenes were already chaotic thanks to fans spilling onto the track before the race had finished, the pair went into the last corner with Criville leading. With the finish line in sight, home fans were already celebrating Criville’s victory, but Aussie Doohan took the Spaniard on the inside. Though their bikes didn’t actually touch, Criville’s machine went slightly wide and threw him off in a dramatic highside – a reminder for fans not to celebrate until the finish line is crossed.
In another epic throwback race, Spaniard Sete Gibernau was thrust onto home soil at the final corner of the track. In front of an avid Spanish crowd, Valentino Rossi and Gibernau had swapped the lead many times in an intense Jerez duel.
Both riders dived for the inside and collided as they approached the apex, but it was the home favourite who was thrust through the gravel while Number 46 rode to victory. A furious Gibernau limped across the line in second place, while Rossi explained:
“For sure it was a hard overtake, for sure Sete is angry, but you know, this is racing!”