The Citizen (KZN)

Binder keeps positive front

- Jaco van der Merwe

Brad Binder put a positive spin on a weekend that saw him slip all of four places in the MotoGP world championsh­ip.

The Red Bull KTM rider earned seven points at the Grand Prix of the Americas for finishing a lowly ninth in the main race in Austin on Sunday. On Saturday he finished the sprint empty-handed in 12th place.

After going into the weekend second in the title race behind Jorge Martin, Binder now finds himself in sixth place on 49 points. Martin (80) is still out in front, followed by Enea Bastianini (59), Maverick Vinales (56), Pedro Acosta (54) and Pecco Bagnaia (50).

“A difficult weekend and one to forget. Although I think our GP here looks a lot worse than it was,” Binder told the KTM website after the race.

Binder’s problems started after crashing during qualifying. A switch to a spare bike did not help because it was configured differentl­y from his own RC16.

He then had to be content with starting from 17th on the grid at the Circuit of the Americas (Cota) and suffered bike damage as he tried to gain places during the start of the main race.

“I got the best launch of my life! I think that was the highlight,” Binder added.

“In Turn One I tried to rail the outside to gain as many positions as I could and with the mess between riders there I unfortunat­ely broke my rear wing and front left wing.

“Twenty laps around Cota with that missing wasn’t much fun. I could finally find a rhythm between that situation and my tire and make some pace.”

Rookie Acosta, riding for KTM’s Tech3 team, showed that the RC6 has huge potential by following up his fourth place in the sprint race with a runners-up spot in the main race.

Aprilia’s Vinales completed the double on Sunday, with Bastianini the only Ducati rider on the podium in third place.

Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM team manager, shared Binder’s sentiments that the Austrian outfit will go into the Spanish in two weeks’ time in a “good space”.

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