After the opening five rounds, Brad Binder was back where he had finished his rookie MotoGP season; eleventh place in the world championship.

That still made Binder the top KTM, but by the summer break he had been leapfrogged by team-mate Miguel Oliveira, who took the latest chassis upgrades to a triple podium run, including victory in Catalunya.

But the KTM seesaw has swung dramatically back in Binder's favour since the summer break, with the South African hauling in 48 points - including a walk-on-water victory in Austria - compared to 0 points for Oliveira, who has been hampered by a wrist injury.

"I feel like I needed the mid-season to almost reset and try and figure out what I needed to do to go faster," Binder explained at Aragon on Thursday. "From the first few sessions in Austria after the summer break I felt stronger and I felt more confident on the bike again.

"In the last three races I've scored a lot of points and I've been feeling good on the bike so I hope that the second half of the season goes normally how my second half of the seasons go and I start to improve a lot.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing how we manage to get, but I want to be fighting amongst that podium battle as often as possible."

Now up to sixth in the world championship, Binder is in with a fighting chance of taking KTM to a new championship high by beating Pol Espargaro's fifth overall last season.

Oliveira's earlier podium streak coincided with the introduction of a new chassis to better suit the 2021 front tyre allocation and change of fuel supplier. Binder's felt his progress was more down to self-belief than trawling through endless technical data.

"Maybe, especially in the last few races before the mid-season break, I was really trying to study too hard to figure out how to ride the bike better. Instead of just letting it happen and have a little bit more self-belief and just, you know, sort it out," he said.

"Don’t get me wrong, I had no pressure at all from anyone to try and do anything different. I think as a rider you go down different roads and you try different paths to see if you can improve, or see what works for you.

"It's clear to me that staring at the computer screen doesn't help me! I just need to go out and not think and open the throttle. That's what works for me!

"So in the last few races, I've really just tried to focus more on my riding, focus just in my small circle and not really look anywhere else for what I can improve. Just try and take the maximum each day."

Throw in a strong past Aragon record and a first dry podium of the season could be on the cards for Binder on Sunday.

"In Moto2 I won here twice and in Moto3 I wrapped up the world championship, so I have very good memories here," he said.

"Last year, the first time here on a MotoGP bike was a little bit tough and the first weekend we struggled a lot. The second weekend I made a very big step forward but never converted the extra pace we found into a race result because I made a mistake into Turn 2 and crashed [with Jack Miller].

"But it's a place I'm really looking forward to riding at and I'm super excited to get started tomorrow."