News24.com | Morbidelli wins Teruel MotoGP as SA’s Brad Binder crashes out

 Franco Morbidelli of Petronas Yamaha SRT celebrates the MotoGP pole position at the end of the qualifying practice during qualifying for the MotoGP of Catalunya. Image: Mirco Lazzari / Getty.

Franco Morbidelli of Petronas Yamaha SRT celebrates the MotoGP pole position at the end of the qualifying practice during qualifying for the MotoGP of Catalunya. Image: Mirco Lazzari / Getty.

Franco Morbidelli streaked home to win the Teruel MotoGP on Sunday as Joan Mir took third to extend his lead in the world championship with only three races to go.

Sadly, South Africa’s Brad Binder crashed out on lap one.

Morbidelli started from second on the grid behind pole sitter Takaaki Nakagami whose dream weekend turned into a nightmare when he parted company with his LCR-Honda at turn five on lap one.

With the Japanese rider cruelly out of the picture Morbidelli was left with clear air in front of him, and the Yamaha-SRT rider made the most of his good fortune.

Unchallenged, he crossed the line well over two seconds up on Alex Rins, last week’s winner at the Motorland Aragon circuit, with Mir taking third from 12th on the grid.

Mir, who unusually has never won a MotoGP race, is now emerging as the unexpected favourite to assume the crown left vacant by Marc Marquez, the six-time champion sidelined by the fractured arm he suffered in his first race fall.

Suzuki rider Mir leads the coronavirus-disrupted 2020 season on 137 points, 14 clear of Fabio Quartararo, who finished eighth.

Maverick Vinales is placed third on 118 points, six clear of Morbidelli who reflecting on his second win of the season said: “Amazing!

“I knew I had to make an aggressive race, when I saw clean air in front of me I decided to give everything I could for every lap.

“The 23 laps went away like this,” he smiled, clicking his finger.”

The serenity surrounding Morbidelli’s success was at odds with the dramatic scenes filling his wing mirror.

Before Nakagami’s exit the race had already lost Jack Miller, who was tailgated by Binder in turn two on the opening lap, both riders sliding into the gravel.

With around 11 laps left it was Alex Marquez’s turn to hit the deck, the Honda rookie becoming another victim of turn two.

Morbidelli’s ‘Motorland masterclass’ earned him the distinction of becoming the first non-Spanish winner at the Aragon circuit since Australian Casey Stoner in 2011.

The most exciting MotoGP title run in for years with only 32 points covering the top six riders takes a breather next weekend before returning for two races in Valencia and the season-finale in Portugal.

In Moto3, Honda rider Jaume Masia followed up last weekend’s win with fourth-placed Albert Arenas moving 19 points clear in the championship from Ai Ogura.

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