Brad Binder is one of the many MotoGP riders using motocross as a key part of his training.

The South African believes 'there's no better form of training' and it's also something he really enjoys.

Riding for KTM, which made its name in off-road racing, means it's unlikely that the Austrian factory will try and clamp down on such training.

But in the aftermath of Andrea Dovizioso's recent collarbone injury on a motocross bike, Binder admits it's only a matter of time before you get hurt.

However, he insists it's worth the risk.

"Almost all riders do motocross, I know I do. The unfortunately thing about motocross is it's going to bite you eventually. It's just a matter of time," said Binder, currently preparing for his rookie MotoGP season.

"The thing for me is I'd rather take the risk because for me there's no better form of training and it's something I really enjoy. So that's my go-to if I really want to have a good days training. I find that it makes you work extremely hard and I've always loved motocross too. It's always been the thing for me.

"When you tell the team you've been riding a lot of motocross they are happy and what not, but if you get hurt it's sometimes a different story…

"It's always complicated. I always find I never try to really push on too hard with motocross. I just try to maybe ride around at 80% and just use it more for the training benefits. But [an injury] is bound to happen one day I'm sure.

"Every rider has had their moments with motocross. I hope mine doesn't come, but I'm sure it will!"

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Dovizioso's injury occurred while taking part in a regional motocross race in Italy, meaning riding at 80% would not be an option, especially as the Italian was seeking 'to rediscover those stimuli and sensations that only a real competition can give'.

"I've thought of trying to enter a motocross race just because it's something that I really enjoy and have always wanted to do," Binder said.

"But for sure unfortunately shit happens, things could have gone perfect and it would have been a great day for him and also gives you extra motivation when – like now after this lockdown where you couldn't really do anything, it gives you something to look forward to at the same time.

"So I understand from both sides, but I'd definitely more on the rider's side!"


First ride on the MX bike in more than 2 months! What an awesome day

A post shared by Brad Binder (@bradbinder) on

Misano Test 'was insane!'

Perhaps one of the reasons Dovizioso felt the need to enter the motocross race is because - unlike Concession manufacturers' KTM and Aprilia - MotoGP riders from Ducati, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki cannot take part in private tests.

That means, having last ridden a grand prix bike in Qatar on February 24, they won't be back on their prototype machines until the Jerez test on July 15, on the eve of the new season-opening race weekend.

Binder meanwhile, having missed KTM's first private test since lockdown as he was unable to leave South Africa in time, made his MotoGP return during a private two-day test at Misano last month.

"The first day was a little bit scary actually! It was insane," he smiled. "It felt like I was always two steps behind where the bike was. You'd go into a corner and brake where you thought your marker was but you just exited the previous corner a little bit better and you'd fly past the corner straight into the gravel. It was confusing.

!It was difficult at the beginning. It's strange after three months of sitting on the couch or not really having that big top speed – of course, I was training and everything every day, but it's just not riding something that performs like a MotoGP bike. It was overwhelming, the first five exits I felt completely lost and the whole first day was difficult.

"Then the second morning, straight away from the first lap I felt like I was in control again and everything just felt a little bit more relaxed."

"It would have been great to have the two days in Spielberg [before Misano] but unfortunately it wasn't possible because I was stuck in South Africa. But anyway I think it was good just to have those two days in Misano especially for me just to wake up again was really, really important.

"For sure going into Jerez I won't be so rusty at least.

"From here it's just going to be great to be back into normal race weekends, learning by being on track with other riders. It gives you the opportunity to really see what the other guys are doing and I think that will really boost the whole learning process."

Binder, confirmed as staying at Red Bull KTM for 2021, revealed he received a different frame at the Misano test: "The other guys had it already in Qatar but I had it now in Misano. There's just a couple of small changes on the set-up and a different front fork that we played with a bit but nothing drastic."

With no further MotoGP outings planned before Jerez, might Binder join some of his rivals in training with a road bike.

"I think it definitely does help to spin laps on a superbike or something to get your feeling back but at the same time it's honestly probably two or three exits and you get that feeling back," he said. "And from my experience so far no matter what you ride it can't compare to a MotoGP bike.

"So even for me I find that it doesn't really matter what you are riding as long as you are riding. All you really need to do is get your feeling back and make yourself sharp again. Work on your braking markers, hit your apexes and to me it doesn't really matter if it’s a 600 or a 1000 or what. The main thing that's going to change is just the lap time, which doesn't mean anything. For me the most important is to do laps and get comfortable again."

Meanwhile, Binder got to share the track with some World Superbike stars at Misano.

"It was challenging to work out who was where because it was just transponder numbers, not names, so you had to try and figure out who was who!" he said.

"Some of the WorldSBK guys I checked, the speed is not so crazy down the back straight but lap times are quite fast. For sure the rhythm is quite a lot slower than MotoGP, but the one-off lap time is not so different. So it was quite cool to see.

"I saw Johnny Rea on track a few times. That was quite cool because I've always looked up to them and watched him in WorldSBK for I don’t know how many years. So it was quite sick to be out on track with all the big boys as you could call them."