JOHANNESBURG - It was Darryn Binder versus Red Bull at a breathless Spanish GP on Sunday morning in the Moto3 category, and that battle ultimately cost him a podium and then a finish within the top 5 through no fault of his own.
Binder, racing for Petronas Sprinta Racing, fought hard from seventh on the grid to be amongst a lead group packed full of Red Bull KTMs in the opening exchanges of the race and even led for a moment with 14 laps to go.
The concerted pressure of the four Red Bulls of Deniz Oncu, Jaume Masia, teenage sensation Pedro Acosta, and Romano Fenati of Sterilgarda Max - a former Red Bull team - however, built throughout the race, dropping Binder down to fifth.
Nonetheless, Binder was still in podium contention as the race came to a close and never lost sight of the riders in-front of him, although they seemed to have a pace advantage over the South Africa.
As the GP entered its last lap, a group of several riders joined the leading five, intensifying the battle for podium finishes, and it would create chaos for Binder on the last corner of the race.
A desperate Oncu, who had led the race for a large portion, lunged at the final corner, hoping to retake the lead, but his suicidal bid resulted in him losing control, wiping out Masia, and then a helpless Binder in the process.
The resulting crash demoted Binder to 22nd after a solid performance, and an exciting battle from the start.
It was a disappointing end for the 23-year-old, and his team, who will both feel much aggrieved by the recklessness of Oncu, and despite the fact that the Turkish rider will no doubt receive a penalty at the next race at the French GP, it will do little to temper Binder’s discontent.
THE HISTORY MAKER! 🏆— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) May 2, 2021
With victory, @37_pedroacosta becomes the first rider in Grand Prix history to finish on the podium in his first four starts! 👏#Moto3 | #SpanishGP 🇪![CDATA]>🇸 pic.twitter.com/R209PqKXtl
Acosta, meanwhile, continued to show his class by claiming his third victory of the season, and his fourth podium. In doing so, the 16-year-old became the first rider in the history of the sport to secure four podiums in the first four GPs of a debut year.
Fenati finished second, while Jeremy Alcoba of Spain took advantage of the final corner shenanigans to stitch up third.
Binder remains third in the riders’ championship, three points behind Masia in second and now 59 point behind the leading Acosta.