Brad Binder claimed victory in Australia ahead of Joan Mir as championship rivals Francesco Bagnaia and Miguel Oliveira struggle.
Binder claimed his third win of 2018 Downunder by a tiny 0.036-second margin to Mir in second-place whilst Xavi Vierge secures his first ever podium in third-place.
Marcel Schrotter was forced to start from the back of the grid after a mechanical issue saw the German rider unable to start his bike in time for the formation lap and ended up having his Dynavolt Intact GP bike manoeuvred back to the pits to be started. This latest set back will have been a hefty blow to Schrotter who had qualified in second-place.
As the lights went out, pole man Mattia Pasini made a quick getaway but Vierge soon hunted him down with Binder, Iker Lecuona and Domi Aegerter in tow. Unfortunately for Pasini, his race was cut short as the 33-year-old tumbled off at turn four after only two laps, ending his hopes of a race win.
Lecuona was showing his talent as he ran in the top eight but it wasn’t meant to be after he made a risky move on Vierge which did not pay off and sent the Spaniard to the ground at turn two during lap seven. Lecuona’s volcanic reaction seemed fairly unnecessary as he obviously believed he was the innocent party but, replays show, it was his own mistake which caused the crash.
It was further heartbreak for homeboy Remy Gardner who was showing some strong pace as the Aussie also clattered into the ground three laps on at turn 10. A horrible end for Gardner’s home race and another blow to his 2018 campaign.
Lorenzo Baldassarri made amazing headway from 11th to first, fighting it out with Vierge who was fighting like a man possessed as the laps ticked down. However, it was another early exit for the Italian who lost control of his Kalex machine in the braking zone at turn 10 causing him to run onto the damp grass and subsequently down and out of the race. This left the top five riders including Luca Marini and Augusto Fernandez to battle for the top three positions. However, Marini soon knocked himself out of the running for another 2018 podium as he ran wide at turn four.
A mistake from Vierge as he exited turn four saw him lose his chance of a race win as a similar mistake by Fernandez pushed him out of the podium fight leaving Binder and Mir to fight between themselves for the win.
Binder held off the chasing Mir as to take the win as Vierge narrowly claimed the last podium position ahead of Fernandez in fourth and Marini in fifth. Aegerter took his first top 10 finish since Argentina with sixth whilst Alex Marquez claimed seventh. Jesko Raffin put in an amazing performance to take eighth ahead of Schrotter who battled his way from the back of the grid to finish in ninth as Japan winner Fabio Quartararo rounded out the top 10.
Full results here.
The championship battle rumbles on for another week but can Pecco find his form again to claim the title in Sepang or will it be a season finale to remember?