Brad Binder believes a shifting of his focus across the race weekend is the major reason behind his recent surge in form that has seen the South African claim back-to-back grand prix victories and lead the Moto3 world championship.
The elder of the two Binder brothers that are currently competing in the series, Brad recently revealed to Crash.net
how he used to pay too much attention to his placing in free practice sessions, rather than bike set-up and consistency during race runs.
A more rounded approach, in which he pushes “on every lap, alone” over a race weekend was also a consequence of a settled winter of testing, which yielded “an incredible base setting” on his Red Bull Ajo KTM.
The results have been impressive: five podiums from five races, and two recent wins, including that
breathtaking ride in Jerez, which saw him climb an incredible 33 positions in the race to claim a memorable debut victory. On the back of another maximum points haul in France, Binder now leads the world championship by 24 points.
“I think the biggest change is just the way I approach every weekend,” explained Binder in Le Mans. “I always used to just have a look at the leader board to see where I was, what my position was, and that was the end of it, you know?
“Now I realise that if you're fifth but you have good rhythm it doesn't matter. The race is a different story. That's all I've changed, really. I've been working so much harder during the weekend. Like I used to do a few hot laps and then I'd pull in. Now I push on every lap, alone and I get the job done.
“When you end up in these big groups, it's always a big fight. If you want to follow guys all weekend, how are you going to lead the race and win it? I think it's one of those things that needs to click because it's not easy. When it's so close, to get a tow you can go so much faster so much easier. I think it's just been continuously working and we're getting there.”
Now in his second year in the Red Bull Ajo KTM squad, Binder is reaping the rewards of remaining within a stable structure, with a settled crew. Yet, having ridden Honda and Mahindra machinery in the prior two seasons, it took time to adjust to a machine that required a different style of riding.
“The toughest part about last year was that when I first jumped on the 2014 KTM I felt it was incredible and I went really quick. Then they brought us the 2015 bike and basically I really struggled. I had so many problems with chatter and my riding style didn't help us at all. So what I had to do was try and change my riding style a lot, which is never easy.
“In Misano [in 2015] it was when everything turned around for me. The only thing that changed was they brought the new chassis. Since then I've been working on the new chassis. Now we've got such an incredible base setting, I don't think we need to play with it much at all. That's about it.
“In the off-season we did such a good job. We tried a lot of things but we carried on. We never lost our way. When we tried things we always did a back check because it's so easy to get lost when you're right up at the top. We found a few things that were good and a few others that weren't. We just put it all together, then the whole package together and so far it's working out good.”
To read the full Q&A interview with Brad Binder click here.