Brad Binder hit the front on lap one and immediately looked to gap the field with only his team-mate Jorge Martin able to find the pace to go with him as the South African bagged his third win of the season at the Moto2 Australian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo pair were streets ahead of their rivals, with Tom Luthi six seconds back down the track, and when Martin had a final lunge at winning Binder replied, finishing an eventual 1.968s ahead. Second marks a new best result for the Spaniard in an impressive rookie year.
Binder’s 25 points brings him into contention for the title, his total of 209 sees him climb to third, behind Luthi and Alex Marquez.
Hindered by a poor qualifying, it took the Dynavolt Intact GP rider too long to climb up from eleventh, despite setting a new in-race lap record, but he still cuts Marquez’s title lead to 28 points as he was caught up in a fight just to keep inside the top ten – the EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider claimed a couple of places in the closing laps to finish eighth.
Away from the podium, after holding Luthi’s Kalex at bay for as long as possible, Jorge Navarro was eventually forced to settle for fourth for Beta Tools Speed Up.
Lorenzo Baldassarri looked to be close to his best again as he finished fifth for Flexbox HP40. Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) gave everything he had but still looked disappointed to be sixth in his home grand prix.
Iker Lecuona (monday.com American Racing) took out both Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi on the first lap, he was handed a trip through the long lap as a penalty and still rallied enough to climb back to seventh by the end of the race.
Marquez took eighth, but was pushed all the way by Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Temporary Forward) who was next to cross the line in ninth and Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) who came back from his grid penalty to claim tenth.
Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) made late improvements to climb to eleventh, with Nicolo Bulega a solid twelfth for Sky Racing Team VR46.
The remaining points went to Jesko Raffin (NTS RW Racing GP) in 13th, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Speed Up) in 14th and Bo Bendsneyder, who moved up to 15th in the closing stages on the second NTS RW Racing entry.
Augusto Fernandez, who had pulled himself into a challenge for the title, had a quiet race in 19th after failing to make much of an impact over the whole race weekend.
Gresini’s Sam Lowes started from the back of the grid following his penalty for irresponsible riding but he managed to catch and pass fellow British rider Jake Dixon (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) to finish 20th with Dixon just behind in 21st.
Xavi Vierge saw his own error leave him slipping into the gravel early on. Somikat Chantra collected Dominique Aegerter as he fell with ten laps remaining. Aegerter remounted to finish 27th and a lap down. Mattia Pasini crashed out around the same time.