Brad Binder begins his third year as a MotoGP rider, but first featuring what is hoped will be a full calendar of events, in a week's time at the Sepang test.

Having made history with KTM's first premier-class win in his rookie 2020 season, Binder added another victory to his name with a gutsy slicks-in-the-rain ride in Austria last season.

But those wins also remain his only MotoGP podium appearances, something that needs to change if he is to take a further step from last year's sixth in the world championship.

The solution, Binder believes, will be a mix of rider and bike improvements.

"As a rider I can definitely improve in keeping my lines a bit tighter," he explained. "Over a lap I’m making too many metres and am not tight enough on the inside of corners. That’s one thing I want to improve. That’s one thing that comes to mind straight away.

"On the bike side, two areas we’d like to work on are the stopping and as soon as I crack the throttle to not spin straight away. To try and keep the traction better and get better drive out the corners.

"In the second half of the season it got to the point when it felt like we were stuck almost, searching for the same thing. We weren’t getting from corner to corner fast enough.

"In the low gears especially, it felt like I couldn’t accelerate well. It’s not because we didn’t have the power; it’s because we didn’t have the grip.

"Our engine is incredible. We probably have one of the quickest engines on the grid.

"But when we come from low speed and a lot of torque is going into the rear tyre, we weren’t hooking up like we needed to. Of course, once the spin starts, it doesn’t stop.

"From testing, from what I’ve heard from my crew chief, they’ve found some small things that help. We’re not looking for huge amounts of time. We’re just looking for a small improvement in that area and I think it can go a long way.

"If we can get out of four corners a little bit better each lap it’s going to add up to a lot of time. It’s not huge things we’re looking for."

In terms of stopping, Binder feels engine-braking can be improved while the RC16's difficulties when using the softer front-tyre compounds needs further investigation.

"We had [the braking] better at one stage, then lost the way at one point when we tried to make the engine braking much more clean. It keeps the bike much more straight in the braking zones. I don’t think we were stopping as well at the end of the year. That’s one thing I’d like to work on and improve," he said.

"One thing that was clear was when we could run the hard front tyre we wouldn’t struggle. We could brake as hard as we wanted and just throw it into the corner. But when we had to run the softer ones we had to be more gentle.

"That’s where our bike is really strong; we have to win all of the time in the brakes.

"It was challenging in the beginning but as time went on, we learnt a bit more and we could manage it better. For sure we still have a long way to go. Hopefully we can find the way and start to narrow it down as soon as possible."

Returning to his own performance, Binder feels he is chipping away at his qualifying pace, having only started inside the top ten on four occasions last year.

"It’s given me a lot of sleepless nights in the past. You don’t sleep so good when you start at the back!" he smiled. "When I look back at the second half of last season compared to the first half I’d say I made an improvement. Not much, but it was there.

"Sometimes it takes longer to get up to speed than I’d like. The main thing is points are on Sunday. But definitely being stronger on Friday and Saturday would make my life easier when the lights go out on Sunday.

"The more laps I do on a MotoGP bike, the more I get comfortable. I’m hoping my third season will sort that out naturally. Let’s see."

Brad will be joined on the MotoGP grid by younger brother Darryn this season, who is jumping straight to the premier-class with RNF Yamaha.

"It’s an exciting time for him. We’ve had a really good offseason," said Brad. "I had to come back to Europe earlier than him so it’s been difficult to train by his side on a big bike. But he’s been doing a lot of laps on a big bike, preparing for the year. Things have been looking good.

"He just needs to give himself time to learn because the MotoGP bike is no joke. It’s a real weapon. If I can give him advice, just take your time because if you rush things they have a way to bite back, it seems."

Darryn will be on track for the Sepang Shakedown test starting on Monday (January 31) before being joined by Brad and the remainder of the MotoGP field for the Official test on February 5-6.

If Binder, again team-mate to Miguel Oliveira, can go one better than last season it would match KTM's best of fifth by Pol Espargaro in 2020.