KTM “happy, very competitive” but “we have to deliver”

Brad Binder’s Qatar test race simulation ten-seconds faster than Fabio di Giannantonio’s winning pace at November’s MotoGP.

Brad Binder, Qatar MotoGP test, 20 February
Brad Binder, Qatar MotoGP test, 20 February

KTM heads into the new MotoGP season much more confident than one year ago with both Brad Binder and Jack Miller sure that the RC16 has made a clear step forward for 2024.

The Austrian factory proved to be Ducati’s closest challenger last season, when Binder was a best-yet fourth in the riders’ standings and KTM second in the constructors’.

That was despite some worrying pre-season pace, but this winter has gone far more smoothly.

A KTM was inside the top four at the end of 3 out of the 5 days of Official testing and, while Binder was only ninth at the end of Qatar, his best lap was blighted by yellow flags.

More significantly, Binder was one of only two riders (the other being GASGAS rookie Pedro Acosta) to put in a full race simulation – and was ten-seconds faster than Fabio di Giannantonio’s race-winning pace at last November’s grand prix.

“Today was pretty cool. We managed to squash everything in and tried a few settings as well as a full race simulation,” said Binder.

“There was a bit of a drop [in pace] but nothing crazy. It was better compared to the race here last year. That’s the most important."

The South African ran out of fuel on the slow-down lap and thanked some Pramac team members for pushing him back to the pits.

“Then I was unlucky to have two yellow flags on my time attack lap, but other than that I was happy!" Binder added.

“I think our bike is working really well and we’ve clearly made a step from last season.

“I’m happy with the way the bike’s working. Let’s see where we are next week…”

Brad Binder’s Qatar test race simulation:


Binder's average = 1m 53.224s

di Giannantonio’s Qatar 2023 race-winning average (excluding standing start): 1m 53.667s


Binder's team-mate Jack Miller was eleventh on the timesheets.

A positive last day here and I’m pretty happy where we are with the bike. I made a few setup changes today and I think we are in the right ballpark to get the season underway.

“All-in-all it’s been a good pre-season and the boys have done a fantastic job through the winter with the improvements and I believe we have a very competitive bike to go racing.”

That conclusion was echoed by team manager Francesco Guidotti.

“The riders were happy. We made a forward step compared to the last time we were here and that was clear with the lap-times.

“We still need a bit more though, but we are on the way. We are working and we can see the improvements.

“It’s been a good pre-season and the general pace has been under the lap record both times and we are also right there.

“We will be ready, and we have to deliver.”

We are happy and confident with our package,” said technical director Sebastian Risse. “We had a good time here and we are confident for the first race now.”

Binder finished fifth in last year’s Qatar Grand Prix, after some front tyre issues, while Miller was ninth.

Average lap time during longer runs, Qatar Test - Day 2

  • Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 1m 52.106s (7 laps)
  • Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 1m 52.430s (7 laps)
  • Fabio di Giannantonio (Ducati) 1m 52.533s (11 laps)
  • Enea Bastianini (Ducati) 1m 52.541s (10 laps)
  • Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati) 1m 52.951s (9 laps)
  • Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) 1m 53.042s (10 laps)
  • Brad Binder (KTM) 1m 53.224s (22 laps)
  • Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) 1m 53.322s (17 laps)
  • Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) 1m 53.544s (14 laps)
  • Jack Miller (KTM) 1m 53.614s (8 laps)
  • Alex Marquez (Ducati) 1m 53.693s (18 laps)
  • Pedro Acosta (KTM) 1m 53.710s (18 laps*)
  • Luca Marini (Honda) 1m 53.840s (14 laps)
  • Johann Zarco (Honda) 1m 53.876s (10 laps)
  • Miguel Oliveira (Aprilia) 1m 54.005s (10 laps)
  • Augusto Fernandez (KTM) 1m 54.076 (13 laps*)

*Slow laps removed

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