Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Improved Ducati spells trouble for Binder’s MotoGP title challenge

Red Bull KTM will have their work cut out for them in 2024, says Dave Petersen.

The high-flying Ducatis might pose an even bigger stumbling block in Brad Binder’s quest for MotoGP glory this season than it did in 2023, according to former premier class rider Dave Petersen.

Binder finished fourth in the title race last season, with the Red Bull KTM man the only rider in the top five not on a Ducati. The Italian outfit produced all of six riders in the top nine last season.

Ducati also started 2024 where they left off last season by showing ominous form during pre-season testing.

Brad Binder need to be ‘realistic’

“KTM has made forward steps in many areas. But by the looks of things Ducati has jumped further ahead this year,” Petersen, who competed in the 500cc class in the 1980s, told The Citizen Motoring.

“While there might be some expectation on Brad to win the world championship, we need to be realistic. As long as there are eight Ducatis on the starting grid, it will be very challenging for a rider on any other bike to win the title.

“And Marc Maquez is also on a Ducati this year. He struggles for one-lap pace, but his race pace is still unbelievable.

“Even if Brad can just finish in the top four again, I think KTM can [be] very satisfied.”

Brad Binder KTM’s number one

Petersen says that KTM’s loyal backing should go a long way in Binder’s challenge.

“It’s clear that he is the number one in that team,” Petersen said.

“Jack Miller has been too inconsistent since joining Brad last year. I don’t know whether it’s a concentration issue or maybe that Jack struggles more on worn tyres. And as we know, Binder is the master when it comes to riding on worn tyres.”

ALSO READ: KTM boss says Brad Binder ready to challenge for MotoGP crown

Acosta looms large

But Petersen adds that Binder will keep an eye on what happens elsewhere in the KTM stable. Spanish teenager Pedro Acosta, who was promoted to KTM’s satellite MotoGP team after romping to Moto2 glory last year, is earmarked to unseat Miller alongside Binder in the main team next season.

“Acosta has shown great pace straight after moving onto the MotoGP bike. People don’t realise how hard that is.

“If Brad does not win the world championship, Acosta is someone KTM will look to in achieving that feat in future.”

ALSO READ: Brad Binder and KTM keen to make 2024 MotoGP season count

Darryn looks for redemption

Brad Binder’s younger brother Darryn Binder lines up for his second season in Moto2 this year. The Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP rider finished 20th in a very challenging season last year.

“I really hope Darryn hasn’t lost his confidence after his big crash last year. He in fact has two big crashes and I don’ think he has regained his confidence,” says Petersen.

“When Darryn is on it, there is nobody on Moto2 that can keep up with him.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Brad Binder sets new benchmark around Kyalami

“The unfortunate part is that Moto2 is a graveyard. Many great riders have moved there and ended up doing nothing. It takes a very specialised skill to ride those bikes.”

The season starts next week in Doha with the Qatar Grand Prix.

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Brad Binder Darryn Binder MotoGP Red Bull KTM

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