Brad Binder last to 15th: “I just couldn’t get going, it was a struggle”

Brad Binder forced to start from last place in the French MotoGP Sprint - gains eight places on the opening lap, then struggles.

Brad Binder, last on grid, 2024 French MotoGP Sprint
Brad Binder, last on grid, 2024 French MotoGP Sprint

Brad Binder’s challenging French MotoGP weekend continued on Saturday when, after three Friday falls, the factory KTM rider was left last on the grid by a technical issue and yellow flags in qualifying.

The highlight of the South African’s day then came when he leapt from 22nd to 14th on the opening lap.

But it was a brief respite.

Binder’s progress came to an abrupt halt with symptoms of high front tyre pressure, most notably locking, causing him to run wide.

Desperate to avoid any more falls, and gather some data for Sunday, the #33 brought his RC16 to the flag in 15th place.

“I just couldn’t get going in the Sprint after a decent start,” Binder admitted. “I made a few mistakes and had a lot of front ‘locking’.

“I went off the track at one point. It was a struggle.

“It was important to collect some data for tomorrow because I felt great on Friday…but kept crashing! It was crucial not to do that again today.

“We found something that gives us a good idea for the race. I’m looking for tiny things, and tiny differences will go a long way at the moment.”

Red Bull KTM team manager Francesco Guidotti explained: “With Brad we had a technical issue in Q1. It was not a failure or malfunction but something was not running right so he preferred the second bike and just found more yellow flags.

“Starting from where he was meant we couldn’t expect much. The front tyre pressure was going to the moon and he could not ride like he wanted. 

"We took some points from the Sprint with Jack, and let’s see tomorrow because it looks like it will be wet.”

Team-mate Jack Miller’s points were for eighth place, having been the only rider to select the soft rather than hard front tyre.

“I got a good start but I was a bit gentle into Turn 3 and got baulked,” said the Australian, who nonetheless held sixth in the early stages. “The bike was working decently but the rear tyre temperature took some time to come up and didn’t really come back to me for five-six laps.

“The other guys could start the acceleration phase out of the corners a bit earlier so we’ll look at that for tomorrow but the front end of the bike worked really well. We’ve got some information to go over tonight. We’ll have to wait and see for the weather now.”

Both Binder and Miller are past masters of wet or flag-to-flag conditions.

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