Broken wings for Brad Binder, ‘unforeseen issue’ stumps Jack Miller

“20 laps around COTA with that missing wasn’t much fun"

Brad Binder, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April
Brad Binder, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April

Despite Pedro Acosta’s heroics on the sister GASGAS machine, COTA proved the toughest weekend of the MotoGP season so far for Red Bull KTM duo Brad Binder and Jack Miller.

Arriving second in the world championship, Binder’s hopes were hit by a lowly 17th place in qualifying, plus a fractured bone in his foot from a motocross training accident.

The South African was outside the points in tenth during the Sprint, while a strong start to the grand prix counted for nothing when he suffered wing damage at Turn 1 and was left in 15th place.

Things got even worse when he lost a further position to Alex Rins on lap 6, but he eventually recovered to ninth place.

“A tricky race for us even though I got the best launch of my life!” Binder said. “I think that was the highlight.

“In Turn 1, I tried to rail the outside to gain as many positions as I could and with the mess between riders there I unfortunately broke my rear wing and front left wing.

“20 laps around COTA with that missing wasn’t much fun. 

"The bike pulled to one [side], especially on the straights. And it’s quite unstable so you have to countersteer quite a lot. When we lose the whole rear wing you don’t have the downforce you set the bike up for. So it’s really tricky to manage after that.

"[But] I could finally find a rhythm between that situation and my tyre and make some pace. A difficult weekend and one to forget although I think our GP here looks a lot worse than it was!”

Jack Miller, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April
Jack Miller, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April

Starting from eleventh, Miller took seventh in the Sprint, then capitalised on contact ahead to grab an early third in the grand prix. But, like Francesco Bagnaia, he began to struggle for rear grip after lap 6.

“I felt good in the group for the first six laps and very comfortable,” said Miller, who eventually finished in 13th.

“The bike was working better than yesterday but then from lap seven I ran into some grip issues immediately and it just got worse. I couldn’t carry corner speed.

“It was a bit confusing after we’d done ten laps and pushed so hard [on the same soft rear tyre compound] in the Sprint.

“I’d been managing the tyre and building it up, so it’s very strange. I just tried to ride as defensively as I could for the rest of the race.

“We've got a fantastic package. I was able to fight there with the boys. But an unforeseen issue today. It is what it is.”

Unlike the KTM duo, runner-up Acosta chose the medium rear tyre.

Team manager Francesco Guidotti is confident that COTA was just a blip.

“We’re looking forward to Jerez because there are a lot of signs that the bike is working well – we saw it with Pedro [Acosta] today - and we believe it will perform at a high level again there,” he said.

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