Austrian GP: Binder wins in the wet after chaotic ending

In a chaotic final few laps of the Austrian GP, Brad Binder has taken his second premier-class victory with a masterclass ride.

In a dry-tyres wet-track scenario, Binder prevailed in an incredible final four laps which saw some riders pit for wets and other stay out on dry tyres.

The dark rain clouds threatened to hit the Red Bull Ring even from the start of the race, with the first drops appearing on the warm-up lap.

When the lights went out it was a good start from pole-sitter Jorge Martin who got the better of Fabio Quartararo, with the latter dropping to sixth by the second lap after running wide at the first corner.

Pecco Bagnaia got off to a flying start, the Italian found himself at the front as Lap 1 came to an end, ahead of Martin and Johann Zarco.

There was then a close battle for the top-three places in the next laps, with Marc Marquez joining the party and having a close fight with his rivals.

Bagnaia looked to have control of the lead, all the while Marquez, Martin, Zarco and Quartararo jostled for P2.

Martin then looked up the inside of race leader Bagnaia on the sixth lap, but ran wide and dropped the Spaniard to fourth.

Quartararo then decided it was his turn to get to the front, passing Bagnaia at Turn 7 on the eighth lap, but the Ducati power was too much for the Yamaha as Bagnaia blasted back past on the home straight.

The race then neutralised at the front for a brief period, with not much movement going on between the riders.

As the thunder-clouds closed in on the circuit and threatened to drop rain at any point, the first incident of the race came as Zarco dropped his Pramac at Turn 9 on lap 11, just as he did in warm-up earlier in the day.

Quartararo ran wide at Turn 3 on Lap 20 which opened the door for Marquez to get through and take second, which led to a ding-dong battle between the Spaniard and Bagnaia as the Honda closed up to the front.

It was a day of mixed emotions for KTM as Miguel Oliveira fell down at the first corner on lap 23.

But with just a few laps remaining, the chaos began.

Jack Miller and Alex Rins pulled the trigger to pit for a swap to their wet bikes on Lap 23, with the leaders following suit on the next lap.

This brought Binder right into the mix, with the South African braving the ever-changing conditions to stay out on his dry tyres and lead the Austrian GP.

With just two laps remaining it looked to be advantage to the dry bikes, with Binder leading followed by Aleix Espargaro and Valentino Rossi.

Marquez was one of the riders who switched to wets, but it did not pay off for the eight-time champion, as he fell at Turn 1 on the penultimate lap.

The final lap of the race almost looked like a warm-up lap, with those who stuck to their dry tyres almost crawling around the track, which led to a huge flurry of changes in the leaderboard.

Espargaro’s illusive first podium with Aprilia slipped away as he dropped down the order in the conditions, but out of nowhere came Bagnaia and Martin, the two were flying on their wet-bikes to get into second and third right at the end.

But it was Binder who pulled off a masterclass, looking like he could fall of at any moment, the South African prevailed to take victory in the Austrian GP, his second in the premier-class.

Bagnaia and Martin rounded out the top-three, a good result for the two riders, especially for the former who moves into second in the championship.

Joan Mir ended the race fourth on wets, ahead of Luca Marini and Iker Lecuona, the two riders will be thrilled with fifth and sixth after staying out on dry tyres.

Quartararo could only manage seventh, ahead of Rossi and Alex Marquez.

After looking like a podium was on, Espargaro crossed the line 10th, the Aprilia rider was struggling at the end on the dry tyres.

After being the first rider to pull the trigger to box, Miller ended the Austrian GP 11th ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Taka Nakagami.

Rins finished 14th with Marquez 15th and the final points finisher, the Honda rider will know what could’ve been had he not fell down earlier on.