Brad Binder found a massive 13.8s in the space of a week to hand KTM an eighth-place finish in the Doha MotoGP.

The South African, who took the chequered flag just 4.979s from race winner Fabio Quartararo, made the leap in performance after a 'scary' switch from the soft to medium front tyre.

All riders had used soft tyres front and rear in the opening Qatar race, which saw Binder and team-mate Miguel Oliveira struggle badly with front-tyre wear. That prompted all four KTMs to take a gamble on the medium for the Doha race.

"I was really quite scared to go back on the medium front considering I crashed three times with it. All three were crashes that I didn’t expect, they just washed away on me. That was a bit hectic but we didn’t have a choice," Binder said.

"The soft wasn’t an option, even in qualifying to do two runs and time attacks on the same tyre was impossible because it had already dropped on the right-hand side. It was clear that even if we didn’t like the medium we’d have to use it otherwise we would not see the end of the race.

"I had to be super-careful transferring from one side of the rubber to the other. You’ve almost brake upright and go over gently, you cannot brake through that amount of angle, when you do, you get a lock on the front, which gives you a lot of negative feeling.

"So I had to change my style quite a bit entering the right-hand corners, but once I figured it out I could push quite well on the front."

Despite the tyre nerves, Binder came close to replicating Oliveria's rocket start as he climbed all the way from 18th to 10th by the end of the opening lap.

"I had a good launch," he said. "We can be happy that we had strong starts in these first two races whereas last year I struggled with them."

From then on, Binder was in constant pursuit of the pack just ahead of him, which he finally caught on the penultimate lap.

"The first time I looked for my position was two laps to go," he said. "It was a bit like a Moto3 race and unfortunately I was the guy dangling off the back of the group. I had a moment where I joined the fight and the only time I could get involved was the last lap.

"I put everything I had into it. I managed to get past Aleix [Espargaro] into Turn10 and into Turn 12 Jack went a bit wide so I managed to sneak through as well.

"It was great to pick up two more places on the last lap and I think when you do so many laps of testing at the same place it brings everyone together and much, much closer and makes the race more interesting for sure."

By contrast, team-mate Oliveira slipped back to 15th place after dashboard issues, on a night when Quartararo's race-winning time was just under 5s faster than the week before by fellow Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales.

Binder will head to the opening European event in Portimao holding twelfth in the world championship, as the top KTM.