South African MotoGP racer Brad Binder believes that ongoing improvements to his KTM bike will make him quicker next season and he’s looking forward to having his younger brother, Darryn, on the same grid.
He’s also eager to see Max Verstappen become world champion in the final F1 race in Abu Dhabi this coming weekend, not least because they are both part of the Red Bull sponsorship stable and have the same race number of 33.
The down-to-earth 26-year-old took a creditable sixth place in this past MotoGP season, with one race win adding to his maiden triumph in 2020, but says he and his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing outfit have identified a need to improve the bike’s grip.
“I am confident that if we make small improvements to our package, it will go a long way,” he said in an interview yesterday while holidaying in South Africa.
“You know, KTM is not the fastest bike in qualifying because of the traction [issue]. I race the same as I qualify — not all riders are able to do that — but we are working to improve my qualifying, for sure, and to get one really super lap. You also need to understand the tyres to get that.”
He said brother Darryn may find the jump from Moto3 to MotoGP difficult in the beginning on his Yahama RNF Team machine next year, but he’s confident that he will come good after a while.
“Darryn has a big task to step up to MotoGP because the gap is big, but he has done well in one test so far. I am really looking forward to sharing the grid with him next year,” said Binder.
“It might take Darryn time to adjust, but once he does, he’s going to be strong. I also think he has the right physique for a MotoGP bike; he’s a tall, strong guy.
“This is a big thing for our family, it is what we have been working towards, and I hope to have some interesting battles with him!” he added.
The younger Binder’s recent promotion means he is the sixth South African to make it to the elite class of motorcycle racing, and the second in the modern MotoGP era after his beloved brother.
Holding out for Red Bull teammate
Binder, who lives near Pietermaritzburg cycling great Greg Minnaar in Andorra during the season, is also looking forward to the F1 decider in the United Arab Emirates this coming weekend and, while the tight championship situation is good for the sport, he really hopes Verstappen’s Red Bull Honda edges out Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes-AMG Petronas car in the end.
“Sunday’s F1 race was insane [in Saudi Arabia]. What a race!” he said.
“It’s crazy to have two drivers on the same points going into the final race. F1, at the moment, looks more like a penalty game than racing, but I’m backing Max.
“I feel Max deserves it. He is also my Red Bull team-mate. You know, I did not realise we had the same race number until later,” said Binder.