Brad Binder roars through Moto2 field leaving rubber on the track
It took Brad Binder less than 10 minutes after taking an extraordinary come-from-behind second place at the Moto2 German Grand Prix on Sunday to begin looking to a date four weeks hence.
The 23-year-old South African is set to be on a new KTM come August 4 when he lines up for the Czech GP in Brno, which he is hoping will signal an end to the troubles that have plagued his Red Bull KTM Ajo team in the first half of the season.
The current bike has struggled with rear-end grip issues for the first nine grands prix of 2019, which has stymied Binder’s tilt at the Word Championship. On the last lap at the Sachsenring near Chemnitz on Sunday, he laid down a long strip of rubber from his deteriorating rear tyre in the last few corners as he finished behind winner Alex Marquez of Spain.
Germany’s Marcel Schrotter was third.
Despite being fastest all weekend, Binder had started in 17th place on the grid after a crash in qualifying on Saturday. He made up six places on the first lap, moved up to eighth at the end of the third and by the sixth was on the wheels of the group of four at the front. He slipped into third with a fine block pass on the 10th lap.
“I had a great start,” said Binder. “I really enjoyed the first half of the race. I pushed way too hard at the beginning, but starting in 17th, I had to try and come through the field. I thought I could take on Marquez, but when I started fighting with [Iker] Lecuona [for second] I lost him and then we had a battle of our own for second. I was strong all weekend, then ended up messing it up in qualifying by going down without putting in a fast lap.”
Binder slipped to second on the 22nd lap as he started to struggle with grip and drifted wide at corners, but he composed himself and moved up to third and then second in quick succession, holding on to second place as Schrotter and Lecuona battled for third behind him.
Lecuona crashed out on the last corner of the race. Binder finished second in Assen last weekend, his first podium of the season, after Marquez and Lorenzo Baldassarri, racing for the lead, crashed each other out.
It was Binder’s first podium at the Dutch circuit and, he believed, a sign the team was on the path to being competitive again. At a testing session in Barcelona before Assen, the team felt they had come up with a solution for the problems with grip.
KTM have been building a new bike, which, Binder hinted, will make its debut in the Czech Republic.
“We have new things coming in Brno. I’m really excited for the second half of the season,” said Binder.
The South African, who won the 2016 Moto 3 world title, is now eighth in the Moto2 standings with 84 points, 52 points behind leader Marquez with 10 races remaining.