The South African jumped from 23rd to 18th in the early laps - putting him ahead of the likes of Takaaki Nakagami, Pol Espargaro, team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and Stefan Bradl - but knew he was in trouble by the halfway stage.

“One of the strong points this year has definitely been my opening laps. I had a nice start and got in amongst a nice group, the pace was pretty good at the beginning. I felt quite comfortable,” Binder said.

“But around lap 10 [of 20] I already realised that my tyre was disappearing really fast and at the end of the race I was in full survival mode. Just trying to get to the chequered flag.

“I guess I just killed the tyre a bit too much in the beginning.

Ducati's BIG DECISION coming soon! | Crash.Net MotoGP Podcast 59

“But I've learned quite a bit and I can explain to the guys where we need to work on with the used tyre. I'm glad that I saw the flag . I needed to finish the race and get a starting point for the second-half of the season. And… at least I wasn't last!”

Although Binder slipped back to 20th as he battled the fading grp, he still managed to hold off fellow rookie Raul Fernandez (Tech3 KTM) and Fabio di Giannantonio (Gresini Ducati).

Darryn Binder: ‘I tried every map, I was on the Game Boy there!’

Looking back, Binder should have joined team-mate Dovizioso on the hard rear tyre but didn’t get a chance to try it properly in practice.

Once the race was underway, the main tyre-saving tool available to Binder was to change engine maps…

“I tried every map the bike had! I played with every button, I was on the Game Boy there!” Binder smiled. “It helps for sure. At the end I had it in the softest mode possible to just bring it home.

“My strategy before the race was to drop the power, for the first time, around lap 8 and I think I hooked that button on lap 3 already! I was like, ‘this thing's never going to make it if I carry on riding like this!’

“I’m getting more used to playing with the buttons and stuff [during the race], just maybe we could work a bit more during the weekend to get those things fine-tuned to be a more consistent throughout the race.”

Red Bull Ring weather could make things ‘very interesting’

Binder, who remains third out of five in the rookie of the year standings, now heads to the Red Bull Ring for this weekend’s Austrian MotoGP.

“I’m really excited to be heading to Austria. I’ve always enjoyed riding there in the past and I’m looking forward to see the new layout after turn one,” Binder said of the new chicane.

But it is the uncertain weather that could make things ‘very interesting’.

“I can’t wait to get there. I’ve been looking at the weather, but it looks a bit unsure. It seems there’s a possibility of rain, so it can be very interesting. I’m looking forward to see what happens.”

Binder’s older brother Brad took victory last season by staying on slicks in the rain, while Darryn's best MotoGP result so far was tenth in the wet Mandalika round.