Brad Binder: “We had a hell of a lot of issues in testing”

After struggling to 14th at the Sepang pre-season test, Brad Binder returns to Malaysia holding fourth in the MotoGP world championship and having fought for victory until the final turn last time at Buriram.
Brad Binder, Malaysian MotoGP, 9 November
Brad Binder, Malaysian MotoGP, 9 November

KTM were openly disappointed by the February test, but soon transformed their fortunes to be contenders from the Portimao season opener.

Although Binder has dropped out of mathematical title contention with three rounds remaining, he is currently on course to secure KTM’s best MotoGP rider ranking in the final championship classification.

“It's going to be interesting for me because when we were testing here, we had a hell of a lot of issues and the guys have done a great job working on our bike throughout the season,” Binder said.

“Things are completely different now. So it will be awesome to see how big the step is that we made.

“The biggest thing when we were here in February was we were still trying to figure out what direction we needed to go in. I don't think I did more than two exits with the same bike! Just playing with all sorts of different parameters.

“So the biggest thing that I'm looking forward to is just riding this track, comfortably. That should be fun.

“The plan is to pick up where we left off last weekend, try to stay amongst that top bunch and fight it out until the last lap again, but hopefully get it right! That would be nice,” added Binder.

Binder finished just 0.114s from victory at Buriram, although he was later demoted from second to third for exceeding track limits on the final lap.

Despite his fourth place in the world championship and two Sprint wins, the 28-year-old is in danger of suffering his second winless campaign in a row with just three more chances to take a 2023 GP victory.

“If I look back at my last two races, I felt like Australia I messed up. And then last weekend, I really wanted to give it a go, but put myself on the green! So I haven't really been able to put it together,” he said.

“I feel like we've been fast at most of the last tracks, especially the last 5-6. I'd love nothing more than to finally get a win for my team because I feel like they really deserve it. We have won two Sprint races, but to get the main race is the goal.”

KTM is also fighting to hold onto a new high of second in the constructors' championship, behind Ducati.

Binder’s ninth MotoGP podium, in Thailand, made him the most successful South African in the premier class, ahead of Paddy Driver, who claimed eight in the 1960s.

“It's a really cool stat. It’s quite different nowadays, we have twenty races a year. Back then, I think they had less than half. So not quite fair,” Binder said.

“But anyway I think it's super cool. For me, it's great to really see how MotoGP is growing back in South Africa. Every time I go home, I see more and more people seem to enjoy the racing just as much as I do.

“I think the better things go here, the better it can be for racing back home too.”

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