Climbing from 13th to 9th on the opening laps, the South African was immediately in the thick of a big group of battling riders.

But the lack of drive meant he was having to take big risks on the brakes just to keep up.

“A really tough race for me,” Binder said. “I got a good start, tried to go with the guys early on, but it was just so clear from the first lap we weren't in the same league on corner exit.

Unwritten rules broken" by future Ducati teammates | Malaysian MotoGP 2022

“I was losing so much time driving out the small corners that it was not possible to make it back up on the brakes. No matter how hard I tried.

“From the third lap, I was like, ‘oh shit’. I was really taking such huge risks on the brakes.

“I had to make all the time on corner entry, because by the time I got the bike turned and picked it up, I was just spinning. Everybody was spinning, but we were spinning worse.

“[I was] spinning on the edge, before I've even picked [the bike] up. So the second I pick it up, it just doesn't change anything. Once you start that spinning, it just continues.

“I had to really take a couple steps back and just be clever… Almost had to accept our level and just try to bring the bike home.”

After briefly peaking in seventh, Binder was demoted to eighth by future team-mate Jack Miller (Ducati).

“My team did an amazing job these six weeks,” Binder said of the flyaways, which began on a high with second place at Motegi before the more modest 10th, 10th and 8th results.

“They worked so hard and I think for the future we've learned so much. We've got some really good info and we just need to start putting everything together.”

 “We've had the same [rear grip] issue for a long time already," Binder explained. “We don't have a lot of rear contact in the braking zones, so I'm always on one wheel. But once I do get the bike turned in, I can manage it.

“Unfortunately, on throttle, you can't manage anything. If you don't have the grip, it just keeps spinning and it doesn't go forward.

“That's [also] why we don't have their performance over one lap; we don't have the grip, and we don't drive out the corners.

“And over race distance, unfortunately [at Sepang] there are like five or six corners where they just kept pulling away, and there was no way I could close it all up again.”

Binder, the only KTM rider to finish in the top 12 at Sepang, remains cautiously optimistic for the Valencia finale, where he will start just two points clear of Johann Zarco in a battle for sixth in the world championship.

“Valencia's actually been pretty good for us the last few years,” Binder said. “I think we need to see, because this new base [set-up] of ours is quite different.

“Some tracks that worked really good for us in previous years are really bad, and some that were terrible worked well.

“So it's a bit of an unknown at the moment, but I expect Valencia to be good for us. If we go off previous years.”