Brad Binder scores first career MotoGP victory in KTM breakthrough

MotoGP Brad Binder victory
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Brad Binder scored the first victory of his MotoGP premier class career Sunday, winning at Automotodrom Brno and delivering an inaugural checkered flag for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing.

The South African won the 2016 Moto3 championship and competed in Moto2 the past three seasons before moving to the top level this year. He took the lead Sunday with nine laps remaining and pulled away for the first podium in his third start with MotoGP’s premier class.

“Honestly, I’m at a loss for words,” Binder, 24, said. “This is a day I dreamed about since I was a little boy, and today it came true. It’s amazing to win my first grand prix. I really wish my parents were here because they’re the ones who backed me from the beginning. Thank you to everyone who supports me to get here. It’s a dream come true.

“I can’t thank my team enough. They put an absolutely insane motobike underneath me this weekend. I had no idea I could win but had a feeling we could be good. Hats off to my guys. They did the most unbelievable job. I hope this is the start to many more.”

Franco Morbidelli finished second for his first podium in MotoGP’s premier class. Pole-sitter Johann Zarco took third, ahead of Alex Rins and Valentino Rossi.

With a seventh, championship leader Fabio Quartararo maintained his points lead.

In the intermediate Moto2 division, American Racing’s Joe Roberts scored the first podium of his career, finishing third behind winner Enea Bastianini after starting from the pole. It’s the first podium for an American rider in Moto2 since John Kocinski in 1993.

Roberts, who has two pole positions in four races, moved up five spots to eight in the points standings.