An exclusive interview with Moto3 championship leader Brad Binder, who spoke to Crash.net on Friday evening at Le Mans - the scene of his second consecutive victory - about his change in approach for 2016 and how he is aiming to enter Moto2 at the close of the year.

Crash.net:
You have yet to finish off the podium in 2016 and you're leading the world championship. What do you feel has changed?

Brad Binder:
I think the biggest change is just the way I approach every weekend. 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.

Crash.net:
In the first half of last year we often saw Danny Kent lapping alone in practice and qualifying. This year we see you do the same. Is that vital in a sense to understand your own limits and ability, especially in Moto3?

Brad Binder:
That's the thing. 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.

Crash.net:
As the Red Bull Ajo team has just two riders this year and your team-mate Bo Bendsneyder is a class rookie, do you feel as though you are benefiting from being the clear number one rider?

Brad Binder:
Things are definitely more relaxed in the box when there are only two of us and not three. Last year it was quite busy during the sessions. But I wouldn't say that. It was so nice having Miguel as a team-mate because when he was doing well we could always compare data and it was so easy to understand. This year I don't think I've looked at Bo's data once. All that we end up doing is comparing [our data] to data from a few years ago. The biggest problem is that conditions are never the same. If the wind blows a bit in Moto3 it can change the whole outlook.

Crash.net:
When you moved to the Red Bull Ajo KTM team at the beginning of 2015 it wasn't a completely smooth transition. What do you think was the reason for that?

Brad Binder:
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 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 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.

Crash.net:
Last year you had the very experienced Massimo Branchini as your crew chief, a man who worked with Casey Stoner in the past. Did you find that benefited your riding?

Brad Binder:
Yeah, last year it was Massimo. This year it's Jordi Gallardo. I mean, last year the amount I learnt from Massimo was incredible. He's had more world champions that anyone in this paddock, just about. It was so nice working with Massimo. I learnt more last year than I learnt throughout my whole career. He's got so much experience and I really appreciated everything he told me. It was so nice. You see last year I always shared a crew chief [Branchini worked with both Binder and Johann Zarco in 2015]. This year, now that there is only two of us, I've slipped into where Miguel was. I mean, I'm really enjoying it. Jordi and my data guy Andr?s [Madrid] are incredible. It's very seldom that we make the wrong move.

Crash.net:
You also have the benefit of ex-rider Joan Olive working in the team, who spots out and around the track for you, How big a help is it having someone with his experience giving you guidance?

Brad Binder:
Definitely with Joan out on track it helps us a lot because it's always one thing to explain what you think but also if someone is out on track straight away they can tell you what you're doing differently. Then you can go through the data, explain what you think and they can say, 'OK. Well we see you doing this differently. That's not helping this but you should do this, this and this.' When Joan's out on track it's definitely a huge advantage to us. Often in testing I was like, 'Joan, can you go and watch here because I'm struggling.' He can come back and say, 'Yeah, you're doing this, this and this wrong.' So if you fix that then you're sorted.

Crash.net:
Away from the race track, are you living in South Africa at the moment?

Brad Binder:
I still live in South Africa but we have a house in Spain that I stay at when the GPs are a week apart. As soon as I have a bit more time I try to go home.

Crash.net:
Has there been a big reaction back home to your achievements this season?

Brad Binder:
South Africa has been incredible. The amount of support I have there is insane. I can only see what my friends send me but on Monday [after Jerez], as far as I hear, I've been on every radio station [and] every news channel. It was good. I think it's really good for MotoGP in South Africa. I think the following there is getting bigger and bigger every year.

Crash.net:
Your brother Darryn is a fellow competitor in the Moto3 class. Is it fair to say that you come from a bike-mad family?

Brad Binder:
Woah. When I was born I probably had a bike waiting for me! My dad's biggest passion is cars and bikes. That's what he does. Since I can remember we've had bikes everywhere. Bikes in the living room [and] wherever we can fit them!

Crash.net:
How did you make your way into the Moto3 class?

Brad Binder:
The last time I raced in South Africa I was 13. I started racing in England in the Aprilia Superteens. I did two or three races and then the following year I got into the Red Bull Rookies Cup. I just continued in the Rookies Cup. I was lucky enough to get myself a ride at the end of the year, or the end of my third year in the Rookies Cup. That's how I got into Moto3.

Crash.net:
What is the national scene like in South Africa at the moment?

Brad Binder:
South African nationals at the moment are picking up. It definitely had a huge slump but from what I've seen this year it's looking good. We have lots of youngsters in the Pata Cup. There are some guys in England, some racing in the World Superbike paddock. There are people all over the place and I can only think that this well help more South African riders get into MotoGP.

Crash.net:
You had a chance to test Zarco's Moto2 machine at Valencia last year. What were your impressions?

Brad Binder:
It wasn't really a test. I made a deal with my crew chief Massimo because he was his [Zarco's] crew chief as well. He said that if I got three podiums I could test Johann's bike... well test, more like I could take a spin on his bike! I don't know why, but for some reason I'm obsessed with Moto2. I'm so keen to ride there. I wanted to see what it was like. So thanks to Massimo and Aki for letting me do that. It was flippin' cool. I can't wait to get there.

Crash.net:
Is moving to Moto2 with Aki's team the next logical step?

Brad Binder:
Obviously I'm not too worried about 2017. I've got my manager who is going to sort that out. He's a bit of a legend so we'll be alright. Personally I'd love to [go to Moto2 with the Ajo team]. Obviously I have such a good relationship with the team and I love how everything works here. All the guys in Moto2 and Moto3, we're all friends. We get on so well together. I think it'd be so much easier if I could stay here. The only thing it would change would be the garage and the bike. I think it would make the step easier because you're already relaxed in your own environment. But, you know, I haven't got that option yet so we'll see. We'll have to speak to the boss!

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