Everything looked great as our local youngster, was set to line up to defend his championship lead from the front row after qualifying. However Binder's KTM was found to be running non-homologated ECU software and his qualifying times were disallowed, which meant he had to start from the back of the grid. All seemed lost and fans could only hope that he would fight through the pack to bag a few points.
However, cool as a cucumber, Binder cruised past his competitors and by the start of lap three he was up to 15th from 35th, and showing no sign of settling for a few points. It was clear that he was still headstrong in defending his championship lead.
The battle at the front between Navarro, Bagnaia and Bulega was intense and they soon broke away from the pack. However, before a third of the race was gone, Binder had clawed his way into fourth was leading the chasing pack.
With 15 laps left and the substantial 3.7-second gap seemed tiny in comparison to what Binder had already achieved. After a few mid-1m47s laps, on lap 11 Binder closed in to less than 1.5 seconds behind the leading group.
On lap 14 Binder pounced into third, and soon after into second as Bagnaia ran wide at Turn 1. The leading group was visibly stirred by this sudden attack as the South African pushed his way into the lead at Turn 6 on lap 18. The fight was now on for second place as our hero sailed to an astonishing 3.4 second lead.
Binder became the first South African to achieve a first place since the legendary Jon Ekerod won the 350 cc Gp at Monza in 1981, extending his championship lead to 15 points over Navarro. The commentators could not praise Binder enough on his effort and our nation anthem was broadcast worldwide.
Watch the post-race interview here.
Article by: Alexander Du Plooy