‘Assen seems to be a Yamaha track’ - Binder, can it help Morbidelli find form?

With reigning MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo starting to dominate the 2022 season, other Yamaha riders will be the first to tell you their performances need to improve.
Darryn Binder, Yamaha MotoGP Sachsenring
Darryn Binder, Yamaha MotoGP Sachsenring

None more so than Darryn Binder who has had a decent start to his MotoGP career, but with RNF switching to Aprilia machinery in 2023, his future with the team has become unclear in recent weeks. 

Binder has arguably been the third best rookie behind Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio, especially since the evaluation process is slightly different for the South African given he came straight from Moto3.

And while most would agree that Binder needs a second year in the premier class to fully demonstrate his potential, finding speed in Assen and after the summer break is going to be vital in making that happen, unless an announcement on his future comes before the British Grand Prix in August. 

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Speaking ahead of Assen, a track he believes suits Yamaha more than anyone, Binder stated: "I’m feeling really good going into Assen. I’ve been making some really decent steps forward, but one point I need to focus on now is qualifying. 

"I need to qualify better to help myself in the race. Going into Assen that will be my main goal to qualify better.

Darryn Binder, German MotoGP, 19 June
Darryn Binder, German MotoGP, 19 June

"It’s also a place that I really, really enjoy riding and it seems to be a Yamaha track. I’m looking to go into the summer break with a good result in my pocket."

Can Yamaha’s stunning MotoGP record at Assen prove the turning point for Morbidelli?

Yamaha have won seven of the last 11 races at Assen, with Quartararo the latest to do so in 2021. 

And in a season where results have been very hard to come by for Morbidelli, the Dutch TT could be just what the Italian needs. 

Like Binder, qualifying has been a major issue and something he’s admitted needs to improve. Should that happen Morbidelli could be a top ten contender as his race pace has steadily improved since Catalunya. 

Franco Morbidelli, German MotoGP, 18 June
Franco Morbidelli, German MotoGP, 18 June

"After the weekend at the Sachsenring, I want to get back to work as soon as possible," said Morbidelli. "We know where we have to improve. Our race pace is pretty decent, but we need to upgrade our performance on the new soft tyre. 

"This is not an easy thing to do, because of the limited soft tyre allocation, but we will try to make another step. 

"We clearly have a lot of work ahead of us to catch up, especially since I haven‘t ridden at the Assen track in the last two years: in 2020 because of the pandemic and in 2021 because of my knee injury. 

"So, we‘ll have to work hard. We hope we will have dry track time so we can make progress."

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