Springbok jumps to top

On the weekend where the rugby World Cup reaches its knockout stages, South African Brad Binder landed a decent blow of his own by topping the time sheets for third free practice for the ‘tiddler' brigade, the 250cc Moto3 machines.

Binder, whose compatriots are among the favourites for the rugby crown, moved to the front with seven minutes remaining, and then proceeded to punch out some even faster laps to end the session with a best of 1:36.519.

That put him ahead of Czech Republic rider Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 KTM, 1:36.789), runaway world championship leader Dany Kent (Leopard Racing Honda, 1:36.881) and Juanfran Guevara (MAPFRE Mahindra, 1:36.888).

Kent's teammate Efren Vazquez (1:36.931) and Portugal's Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo, 1:37.976) — the fastest rider on day one — were sixth and seventh fastest, followed by Briton John McPhee (Saxoprint RTG Honda, 1:37.085), who was part of the sensational drag to the finish line in the 2014 Moto3 race at Phillip Island, eventually won by Australia's Jack Miller. McPhee was fifth, but only 0.2 seconds behind Miller.

The current Moto2 lap record at Phillip Island is held by Miller with a 1:36.302, while the best lap belongs to Alex Marquez with a 1:36.050 — which should be usurped this afternoon during the 40-minute qualifying session.

Meantime, the rider with the only real chance of denying Kent the status of world champion-designate at Phillip Island, Italian Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Honda), was only 19th in FP3.

Aussies Remy Gardner (CIP Mahindra), Olly Simpson (KTM) and Matt Barton (Suus Honda) were 31st, 35th and 36th respectively. The trio all went faster than day one, but Gardner in particular fell way down the pecking order as his opposition upped the ante.

Qualifying is at 1:35pm.

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