KTM has scored its first MotoGP victory after an emphatic win for rookie rider Brad Binder who stunned at the Czech Grand Prix.
In only his third premier class race start, the 2016 Moto3 champion overtook erstwhile leader Franco Morbidelli on Lap 13, going on to dominant proceedings and claim victory by over five seconds.
After an equally sublime pole position lap in the previous day’s qualifying, Johann Zarco slumped to sixth off the line as Morbidelli bolted into an early lead on his Petronas Yamaha with championship leader Fabio Quartararo in tow.
Having started seventh, Binder had moved forward to fourth before elevating himself onto the podium two laps later with a move on the Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro. The South African then continued his charge to hound away at the Petronas Yamaha duo, stealing away second from Quartararo on Lap 9.
This allowed the sister KTM of Pol Espargaro a run on the Frenchman who entered the round at Brno unbeaten in 2020 but ultimately ran out of road at the penultimate turn and opening the door for Zarco to steal away third position.
Though it wasn’t without contact as Espargaro and Zarco clashed, putting an end to the KTM’s race while Zarco was sentenced a long lap penalty on Lap 14 by which he had already established enough of a margin to keep P3.
Binder was evidently in a class of his own and rapidly hunted his prey in the form of Morbidelli, stealing the lead with a swift move at Turn 10, charging into the horizon to claim an utterly dominant race win 5.2s.
Morbidelli’s pace began to fade in the latter stages of the race, but the Italian held on to claim a maiden MotoGP podium in second.
Delaying taking his long lap penalty paid enormous dividends for Zarco who retained his podium position and expertly fended off a late challenge by Alex Rins in the leading Suzuki. Zarco would notch his first podium since the 2018 Malaysian Grand Prix and his first riding for Ducati.
A difficult qualifying session for Valentino Rossi was laid to rest as the series stalwart charged from tenth to fifth at the chequered flag ahead of Miguel Oliveria on the Tech 3 KTM, the third KTM inside the top ten positions.
Quartararo dropped down to seventh at the flag ahead of Takaaki Nakagami, Jack Miller and the only Espargaro still upright for Aprilia.
It was a miserable afternoon for many of the sport’s big guns with Andrea Dovizioso only finishing 11th after his worst qualifying performance in his career while factory Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales showing little pace all race to end up 14th.
MotoGP now heads to the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix next weekend on August 14-16.