'Nothing to prove' Darryn Binder 'wows' RNF Yamaha

Following the news that Darryn Binder would jump straight from Moto3 to MotoGP, some of the premier-class grid questioned whether it was time to introduce an F1-style 'super license' to effectively block such a move in future.
Darryn Binder, Indonesian MotoGP race, 20 March 2022
Darryn Binder, Indonesian MotoGP race, 20 March 2022
© Gold and Goose

Several of those same riders were overtaken by Binder as he charged from 23rd to a high of 8th during a stunning wet weather race debut at Mandalika on Sunday, only his second MotoGP event.

"I was fighting against guys that have race wins and this is my first time in the rain, so it gave me a nice feeling inside and I really enjoyed it," Binder said.

"But when I was passing these guys I was like, 'now is not the time to make a silly mistake' because there's a lot of big names that I was trying to pass and if I make a mistake I'm going to get nailed for it again.

"That was definitely in my mind, but at the same time I feel like everyone was fighting pretty hard and at the end of the day, it's a race."

Binder fought his way to the front of a nine-rider pack that also included older brother and double KTM race-winner Brad, keeping them all at bay for three laps.

Then when Aleix Espargaro dived under Darryn on the penultimate lap,  Brad also took advantage, despite riding with a malfunctioning ride-height device.

"I was battling with the guys but by no means do I think I was out of control or in any way dirty. The closest to contact I had was when my brother swoped up the inside and I got a bit of a fright!" revealed the 24-year-old.

"When he passed me, he took an opportunity. Because Aleix passed me and I was a little bit wide trying to come back underneath Aleix and then Brad took the both of us, a two-for-one special!

"I think Brad was maybe a bit surprised to see me up there in the race, but he was really happy for me."

Darryn Binder, Indonesian MotoGP race, 20 March 2022
Darryn Binder, Indonesian MotoGP race, 20 March 2022
© Gold and Goose

Binder explained that despite his MotoGP wet weather knowledge being restricted to some laps at the Sepang test, he felt instantly confident on Sunday.

"Already from the out-lap to the grid I was really impressed with the amount of grip the wet tyres had," he said. "I just kept pushing, kept pushing and then I started making a couple of passes and before I knew it I could see that I was in the points and I was catching the guys in front of me.

"Later down the line I got past my brother which was super cool and towards the end of the race, once I got to the front of the group, I was struggling a little bit with the rear tyre.

"It definitely dropped a little bit and I wasn't able to push as much as I did in the beginning. So then it came down to the battle at the end, just trying to fend the guys off because there were two laps to go and I wanted to be first in the group.

"My brother got the better of me and then I fought a little bit with Aleix so I wasn't able to get back with [Brad] and try and fight with him on the last lap.

"But overall it was a really good experience in the rain, I'm really happy with how things went and I felt like I gave it a good shot.

"It's not always going to be this easy for me to fight for good results so for sure I was trying to do my best. I would have loved to have finished eighth but anyway tenth is better than nothing for sure and I'm happy with how things went."

Darryn Binder, Indonesian MotoGP race, 20 March 2022
Darryn Binder, Indonesian MotoGP race, 20 March 2022
© Gold and Goose

Binder was the top rookie by a comfortable seven places from Moto2 title runner-up Raul Fernandez, as he also held off the likes of Qatar race winner Enea Bastianini, Repsol Honda's Pol Espargaro and Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia.

"I don’t really have anything to prove to anyone," Binder added. "At the end of the day I've been given this opportunity and I'm trying to make the most of it. I'm trying to do my best in every session.

"Some of the practices I struggle a bit but I've always been a better racer than in practice. On race day I always give my best no matter what the conditions are.

"I've been known to crash in the past but right now I feel like I haven’t even reached 80% of what this bike is capable of," he said of the 2021 A-spec Yamaha.

"Okay I'll make mistakes trying to find the way [in MotoGP], but I feel like in Moto3 I definitely over-rode sometimes because I wanted too much and was asking too much for [the equipment] I had.

"That's in the past and now I'm trying to learn and focus on moving forward. I need to remind myself it's not going to be this fun every weekend and it'll be back to reality next time in Argentina."

RNF team founder and principal Razlan Razali, who ran the South African under the SRT banner in Moto3 last season, also faced criticism over his MotoGP rider choice, but they now lead the early Rookie of the Year standings by five points over Moto2 champion Remy Gardner.

"On Darryn’s side, I can just say ‘Wow!’" Razali said of the Mandalika race.

"That was an impressive rookie ride in tenth, fighting against many fast riders. His ability to ride in the rain was really spectacular and we are extremely happy with him!

"Let’s enjoy this moment with Darryn, who is the top rookie now and then we move on to Argentina.”

Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso retired from 13th due to an early technical problem.

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