SA's Brad Binder to move up to MotoGP next year
KTM rider will be the first South African in the top-tier motorcycle Grand Prix class in 20 years
SA’s Brad Binder will be racing in the premier MotoGP category from next year, it was announced on Wednesday.
The 2016 Moto3 champion, who has been racing a KTM in the intermediate Moto2 class for the last two and a half years, will join his former team-mate Miguel Oliviera at Red Bull KTM Tech3 in MotoGP next year, replacing Hafizh Syahrin.
The 23 year old will be the first South African rider to compete in the top-tier motorcycle Grand Prix category since Shane Norval raced in the 500cc class in 2000.
After finishing third in last year’s Moto2 championship with KTM, Binder initially struggled this season, but has enjoyed a revival in form by scoring back-to-back second places in the last two races. In Sunday's German round at the Sachsenring he had an inspired ride to second place from 17th on the grid.
He is currently 8th in the Moto2 world championship and the only KTM rider in the top 15.
“It is incredible to have this opportunity,” said Binder. “I want to say a huge thank you to KTM, Red Bull KTM Tech3, my manager and my family for helping me get to the premier class and to be able to give it a try.
“It is an amazing feeling right now and a dream come true. When you are growing up then this is what you aim for – to be in the MotoGP class with the best riders in the world with the best bikes – so it is a crazy feeling right now.”
Pit Beirer, KTM’s Motorsport Director, said: “To be able to sign Brad Binder for our MotoGP project is an exciting moment because he has been with us for five years already and is one of our world champions. We have a strong story and connection and we’re really happy that it continues.
“We also like the fact that Brad has this distinctive riding style that allows him to push a bike and project to the maximum. We feel that he ‘fits’ to us, and we cannot wait to see how he handles and attacks a MotoGP bike.
“I’m sure he can add some extra and special things because he has done that with every motorcycle he has raced so far and it will be a highlight not only for us but for all MotoGP fans.”
Binder made his Grand Prix debut in 2011 and claimed the 2016 world title with Red Bull KTM Ajo, becoming SA’s first world champion in 36 years, and just the third rider from his country after Jon Ekerold and Kork Ballington. He graduated to Moto2 the following year with the same team.
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