Brad Binder believes traction continues to be KTM’s biggest issue after finishing P18 at the Sepang MotoGP test. 

While Binder was only eight tenths away from Enea Bastianini who set a new unofficial lap record around the Sepang circuit, the South African was unable to find the level of performance he had hoped and expected. 

Along with team-mate Miguel Oliveira, Binder was testing KTM’s new aero package throughout the two days, however, rear spinning and traction coming out of corners remains ‘our main issue’. 

In fact, when Binder switched to an older RC16 the performance level was similar according to the former Moto3 champion, which is less than ideal given ‘that bike has been maxed-out’. 

Binder said: "The big thing I’ve been searching for is when I crack the throttle I want to go forward. At the moment the first thing that happens is I start to spin and break traction. 

"As soon as that happens it’s really hard to get that hook-up again. That’s one thing I’ve been struggling with, but it's been the second half of last year that It was our main issue. 

"We have a completely different aero package and I’m sure you guys saw and in some areas it helps us and in others it makes it difficult. It requires a completely different set-up to make it work and we haven’t had time to explore and make the most of it. 

"I went back to the old bike and over a lap the time is pretty similar. That bike has been maxed-out pretty much and we’d been trying to get the best since late 2020, pretty much. 

"The good thing is that we are already at this level with the new configuration and I think there is room to improve. I hate to see myself back in 18th but, anyway…"

Binder, who was the second fastest KTM behind Oliveira (15th), had hoped the first test of 2022 would show the Austrian manufacturer to have a more competitive package, which at this early stage doesn’t seem to be the case.

"I would have liked to have been more competitive. I had high hopes for this test but we weren’t able to execute I would say. I think if we had a race then we would be in a similar situation to last time and we’d be able to come through," said Binder. 

"Our bike doesn’t seem to do well in terms of putting a quick lap in but when it comes to being consistent and just riding over 20 laps I think we are still pretty OK. 

"We need to improve but it is early days. We’ve only had two days on the bike. I hope when we leave Mandalika we will be happy."