Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Brad Binder finishes MotoGP season on high, but hungry for more

Red Bull KTM man achieved a career-best fourth place in the 2023 premier class title race.

Brad Binder could not break his winless run at the season-ending Valencia MotoGP on Sunday, but vowed that his Red Bull KTM will be back stronger next year.

Binder eventually finished third in an eventful 27-lap race at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo. Francesco Bagnaia won to retain his crown after his title rival Jorge Martin crashed out.

Binder, who started in fifth place, made an excellent start to take the lead and comfortably retain it for a handful of laps. He looked set to break a 46-race win drought. And with team-mate Jack Miller in second, it looked like KTM could finished the season with a one-two.

Brad Binder promoted

But it all turned pear-shaped within a few laps as a mistake saw Binder drop five places and Miller crash out after taking the lead. Binder fought back like a man possessed and during his fightback was docked one place after making contact with Alex Marquez.

The KTM man crossed the finish line in fourth, but was eventually promoted to third. A tyre-infringement penalty of five seconds saw Fabio Di Giannantonio move down from second to fourth overall.

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

“A third place is a third place, even if we didn’t actually go to the podium! I gave away a couple of podiums this year, so I know it’s not fun,” Binder told the KTM website after the race.

“Anyway, [it was] quite cool to finish in third after coming close. I took an unneeded Long Lap but did well to save the crash because the front tire had been cooling down.”

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Fourth place

After recording second place in the sprint race on Saturday, Binder consolidated his fourth place in the title race with a haul of 25 points in Spain. He finished the season on 293 points, 68 clear of Johann Zarco (225) and 36 behind Marco Bezzecchi (329).

Bagnaia finished on 467 points and Martin on 428.

Binder, who finished his first three season in 11th, sixth, and sixth, is confident KTM make the strides for him to improve on his fourth place next year. For that to happen Austrian outfit will have to close the gap on Ducati even further. Binder was the only non-Ducati rider to finish in the top five of the title race.

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“We won two sprints this year but it would have been good to sign off with a main victory. We need a little more in this off-season to fight,” Binder added.

“Thanks to all my crew. We’ve made a big step this year and there’s more to come.”

ALSO READ: Brad Binder on riding over Bagnaia’s legs in ‘scary’ Catalan MotoGP incident

KTM has bigger plans

The team still has one final outing during testing at Valencia on Tuesday.

“I was impressed by how much we could improve in just one season, especially qualifying, and we know there is a little bit more to do if we want the championship,” said Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM team boss.

“We will try again in 2024 and we will keep the focus.”

Brad Binder’s younger brother Darryn Binder finished Sunday’s Moto2 race in 20th and outside the points on Sunday. The Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP rider finished the season in 20th place with 34 points.

The 2024 season starts on 10 March in Qatar.

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Brad Binder Darryn Binder MotoGP Red Bull KTM

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