MotoGP: Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM ‘extremely close to doing some great things’

South African MotoGP rider Brad Binder. Picture: Kimimasa Mayama / EPA

South African MotoGP rider Brad Binder. Picture: Kimimasa Mayama / EPA

Published Feb 1, 2024


The man is ready, now it is time for the machine to catch up.

That was Brad Binder’s assessment on Wednesday, while speaking to IOL Sport, as he prepares for the 2024 MotoGP season, which starts in early March.

Now deep into the pre-season, and with a shakedown Test in Malaysia on the horizon, the 28-year-old South Africa rider Binder and Red Bull KTM are busy searching for solutions for minor oojamaflips that could have a major impact on their performances.

Last season, Binder found himself in the thick of the action, battling for the most part, at the front-end of the grid. It ensured five podiums; two Sprint race victories; a fourth-place finish in the world riders’ championship – his best performance in the elite class; and a second-place finish in the constructors’ championship for the team, which was also their best finish in a season.

Binder and Co will most likely agree that their only real failing last year was claiming an elusive GP victory, which will no doubt be high on their priority list this year. Indeed, the last time they achieved such a feat was with Miguel Oliveira in October 2022, while Binder last did so in Austria the year before that.

To do so once more, KTM and Co will have to move off the rear wheel of Ducati – who won 18 of the 20 races last year. Despite that unequalled dominance, Binder oozes confidence that such a positive result is on the horizon.

Said Binder: “We are extremely close to doing some great things, I believe.

“I am waiting for the last piece of the puzzle. I feel like we need a last little bit of help from the mechanical grip side.

“I am quite confident that once we have that, we can fight for victories. Already, I was extremely close fighting with the Ducatis every weekend.

"We needed that last little bit in the last few laps of a race, which was missing. If we can find that performance and we can make our tyres go the distance, I am really confident that we can be extremely strong this year.

“I’ve been training as hard as I can. I’ve left no stone unturned, and I am ready to see what I can do this season."

The two scheduled test weekends at Sepang, the first of which is next weekend, will certainly give an early indication if KTM has worked out those bothersome kinks stopping them from overtaking their rivals in the chase for a top step finish.

As admitted to by Binder, it is not KTM’s strongest circuit, but a good test there will bolster their belief in the season to come that they can topple Ducati, and hold the only other manufacturer to win last season – Aprilia – at bay.

“If you look back at the last few years in MotoGP,” Binder explained, “every single season, the lap times are half-a-second quicker.

“The goal is to make that step up but also find a little bit extra to really close the gap to (Ducati). At some circuits, we are really close, while on other circuits it is much more difficult, especially in the low grip situations.

“We know where our strong points are. We know where we need to work. It was really great for me that when I caught up with my team (this week), it was clear that they were working in the right direction," he concluded.