BRNO, Czech Republic – Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder pulled off a shocking maiden victory in MotoGP competition on Sunday at the Brno Circuit during the Czech Grand Prix.
The South African, making only his third MotoGP start, became the first rookie to win in MotoGP competition since Marc Marquez accomplished the feat in 2013.
Binder won by more than five seconds over Franco Morbidelli of Petronas Yamaha SRT, who earned his first MotoGP podium. Polesitter Johann Zarco survived a penalty after a clash with Pole Espargaro to finished third.
Zarco wasn’t able to get the launch he needed at the start, allowing the Petronas Yamaha duo of championship leader Fabio Quartararo and Morbidelli to take the top two positions into the opening turn. Quartararo ran a touch wide, allowing Morbidelli to take the lead.
Behind them, Aleix Espargaro was up to third and quickly moved by Quartararo to take second. Pol Espargaro sat fourth, with Binder chasing in fifth ahead of Zarco in sixth.
Binder quickly went to work, first dispatching his Red Bull KTM teammate Pol Espargaro before driving past Aleix Espargaro. He quickly ran down Quartararo and the battle was on for second.
Not far behind them Pol Espargaro slipped by Zarco on lap six and joined the first for the runner-up spot. Binder drove by Quartararo on lap nine in turn three, with Pol Espargaro following him through.
It wasn’t long after that the drama truly began. Pol Espargaro ran slightly wide at turn one, with Zarco taking the inside line. Pol Espargaro and Zarco then made contact, with Zarco’s front wheel hitting Pol Espargaro’s body. Zarco continued on, but Pol Espargaro was out of the race.
Officials later handed Zarco a long lap penalty, forcing him to work even harder if he hoped to stay on the podium.
Meanwhile, in front of that, Binder was hunting down Morbidelli. With nine laps left Binder ran down and passed Morbidelli for the lead before pulling clear. At the same time Zarco took his long lap penalty, but he managed to maintain enough time to hold to third just ahead of Quartararo.
At the front, Binder remained in control. Each lap he grew his advantage until it was 5.2 seconds at the checkered flag ahead of Morbidelli, with Zarco even further back in third.
Zarco barely held off the Suzuki of Alex Rins for the final podium spot, with Rins finishing .139 seconds behind Zarco. Valentino Rossi came home fifth for Monster Energy Yamaha.
Miguel Oliveira finished sixth, with Quartararo fading to seventh at the finish. Takaaki Nakagami, Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro completed the top-10.