Despite losing a wing during an early clash with Johann Zarco, the South African took his shaking and wobbling machine from 18th on the grid to eighth.

“I had a really good start for the first time in a while, so it was nice to get past quite a few guys early on. Unfortunately, I rode into Zarco on lap 4, and I ended up flicking my wing off, so it made the rest of my race extremely difficult,” Binder said.

“It was really, really physical and hard to ride with one wing. The big problem is the thing shakes a lot. Because it's pulling to one side all the time, so any time you need to put some input into the steering, it just starts to wobble.

“So you have to hold on a lot tighter and it takes away your opportunity to rest on the straights.

“It's pretty hectic. I had quite a bit of arm pump, and then when my arms were dead, I was using my legs, and when my legs were dead, I was just waiting for the laps to finish to be honest.

“So really happy to have finished up in eighth, obviously there were a lot of crashes in front of us, but all things considered, we can leave here happy.”

While it may have been exhausting, Binder insisted wing damage should not be seen as a black flag issue for MotoGP in future.

“There's nothing dangerous about it. I mean, at the end of the day, OK the bike is a little bit more unstable, but it's nothing that you can't handle,” he explained. “It is just a little bit more physical, of course, because obviously it does pull more to the one side.

“But for me, there's definitely no need to black flag someone if they lose a wing. And also I think you'd be black flagging someone almost every weekend! Because the way things are nowadays, if you have any contact, the wings seem to pop off.”

Binder: ‘It's time to climb out of this hole’

Even without the wing damage, Binder’s eighth place would have been an impressive performance given KTM’s struggles with all its riders throughout the Le Mans weekend.

After podiums for Binder (2nd) and factory team-mate Miguel Oliveira (1st) in the opening rounds, the best KTM hasn’t finished higher than fifth in the five races since.

Binder has made the best of the situation, albeit with only 28 points out of a possible 125 points. Oliveira has just 18 points during the same period with 2 for Remy Gardner, whose Tech3 team-mate and fellow rookie Raul Fernandez is yet to score (missing two races with a hand injury).

“I feel also that we're losing a tiny bit everywhere. It's a little bit on entry, a little bit on corner speed, and a little bit on the exit,” Binder said. “At the moment, we just need something that can just pop us up a little bit, and that's going to be the difference between being competitive and where we are now.

“Mugello [next race] was really good for us last year, so I'm really hoping that that can hopefully kickstart our season a little bit. Because we started off really well, and we've had a big slump. So it's time to climb out of this hole and figure things out.”

Oliveira: Keep pressing on in hard times

KTM’s struggles prompted Binder, Oliveira and Gardner to gamble on the hard front tyre in the Le Mans race, while the rest of the grid chose the soft or medium.

“To gamble on the hard front was actually good because we could make some positions on braking points and we could fight with the other guys,” Oliveira said.

But it perhaps contributed to the Portuguese being caught out and falling from ninth, just behind Binder, with three laps to go.

“[It was] a bit too sensitive on the left, as we expected, on turn 3, this is the type of corner where you crash and you really cannot tell why. From a riding point of view, there is nothing really standing out. Not more angle, not more speed, nothing else,” Oliveira said.

KTM had hoped the stop-and-go nature of the Le Mans circuit would suit the RC16.

“We thought that we could have some advantage in stop and go tracks, but we don't,” Oliveira said.

“Right now, we need to keep working, stand together as a team and keep pressing on in hard times. That's the only thing we can do.”

Oliveira highlighted that KTM’s problem is not that the 2022 bike has taken a step back, but that others have improved at a faster pace.

“We went faster than any other year, but the other guys did also,” he said. “They went even faster than us.

“At the end of the day it's a competition, and even if you feel good with the bike, if the clock is not ticking in the right place it doesn't really matter so. Sometimes good feeling doesn't match with fast!

“So we just need to be fast and search for performance and at this moment it's the main goal of the whole team, the whole project, is how we can make this bike faster.”

In a day when Oliveira, Gardner (following contact) and Fernandez all crashed out of the race, the Portuguese confirmed that they are having to take more risks and over-ride the KTM at present.

“I mean, if we want to cruise and just finish the race we can do that. But it will be up to the misfortunes in front of us to put us a bit more up the grid, or not, and that's not the way we go about racing.

“We need an extra risk and we need to over-ride the bike to go fast, to be competitive, to fight for decent positions. At the moment it's the only option.

“So we will keep giving the feedback as best as we can to improve, and we'll keep pressing on regardless of the qualifying result, 17th or 5th place, doesn’t matter. That's the approach we need to take. And that's it.”

Oliveira explained that they are yet to find a comfortable base setting with the bike meaning each grand prix is a step into the unknown.

“At the moment, before starting the GP, we don't really know what we can achieve.

There is nothing we can do now on the bike that is able to give us the feeling that ‘OK now we are here and we can relax because we know a good base is there’.

“So we need to move the bike a lot in every track setting wise. Jerez we did. Here again. Just to be competitive, competitive a little bit and not at the top. So we are standing out at the far end of the grid, and we don't want that.

“We have much more potential and for sure we will work towards this goal.”

Complicating the issue is that there is no single area of obvious weakness.

“Now we just need to do things faster, so braking, turning and accelerating!” Oliveira said. “Because there is not one area that really stands out for us that says ‘OK here we lose’.”

Gardner: I’m trying to find something that isn’t there

Remy Gardner had warned of the ‘bleak’ situation KTM were facing at Le Mans after Friday practice.

The reigning Moto2 champion, who went on to qualify in 22nd and joked that a tornado ripping up the track was their best weather option for the race, also felt the hard front tyre gamble had been a “good decision”.

“We were a bit scared about warming it up on the first lap but I had no problems. I passed 5 or 6 guys in the opening laps. We were up to P16 but going into Turn 7 [Fabio di Giannantonio] touched the front of my bike, the rear came around and I had a big highside.

“I’ve hurt my ankle. I’ve got more burns again. I’m in the wars at the moment,” added the Australian, who like Binder had raced without a wing at the previous Jerez event, then suffered a big fall in the post-race test.

During the French weekend, Gardner made clear that he feels new parts are needed to take the RC16 forwards, having exhausted all set-up options.

“We were last but closer than ever to the factory guys this weekend. In the end, I’m still arriving to the races and giving my 100%. I’m giving my all to be up there but it’s difficult times at the moment,” he said.

“I’m trying to find something that isn’t there. Every time I do that I end up on the ground. I think it’s the same for the factory guys. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on. Hopefully we can get some updates sooner rather than later.”

Fernandez: Fighting at the back ‘not very fun’

On the other side of the Tech3 garage, Fernandez began the race from last on the grid. The Spaniard was ahead of Darryn Binder when he lost control of his medium front tyre and crashed out at Turn 6, on lap 7.

The accident, combined with 13th place for di Giannantonio, means Fernandez is now the only 2022 rookie not to score a point so far this season.

“The most important thing today is that I am okay after my crash,so I feel lucky,” Fernandez said. “I am really disappointed with myself. Before exiting the garage, I told myself that I had to finish the race for my team, for their home Grand Prix, so I want to apologise to them.

“At the start of the race, I pushed too much trying to catch the group of riders ahead of me, and I ended up making a mistake and crashed, losing the front tyre. Although my hand still hurts, today I was getting closer to Remy Gardner and the KTM Factory riders, so it is a great shame.

“We are going through a tough period right now. We need to continue to work hard and find how we can improve our bikes so we can be faster and feel more confident on them. The goal is also to enjoy riding, because when you fight at the back of the grid, it is not very fun.”

After seven of 21 rounds, Binder is joint seventh in the world championship, with Oliveira 11th and Gardner 23rd.

KTM is fourth in the constructors' standings, four points ahead of Suzuki and 17 clear of Honda.