Johannesburg — One of the big talking points at this weekend’s Grand Prix of the Americas will be whether Red Bull KTM can maintain their current form in the MotoGP constructors’ title.
Brad Binder’s team has shocked the paddock after three races in Qatar, Indonesia and Argentina by sitting second in all the championship standings.
Brad currently holds down that spot, seven points behind MotoGP’s most recent winner Aleix Espargaro, on 38 points; while KTM are six points behind Ducati in the constructors’ championship; and are on 66 points in the team standings, trailing Team Suzuki Ecstar by three points.
They find themselves at the top of these championships due to Honda’s wrenched form at the start of the season.
"It's chaos!" said Brad on crash.net on Thursday. "It's going to be an extremely exciting year.
"It's a great time to be a MotoGP rider, but also a great time to be a spectator - probably better as a spectator!"
"It's good times for us,” he continued.
“We need to enjoy the good days but keep our feet on the ground because there's always tough days to come," Binder said. "There's been three podiums of different riders and I expect there's going to be a lot of changes like that throughout the season.
"But it's great to be second in the world championship. We just need to keep bringing home the maximum points on offer to us, whether that is a win or a fifth or a tenth and at the end of the year I hope we'll be in a good spot."
Nevertheless, Argentina wasn’t great shakes for Binder and Co, as the team seemed to generally battle around the circuit. Binder scored 10 points with a sixth-place finish, but was no doubt hoping for a stronger showing that would have challenged the front-runners.
Meanwhile, teammate Miguel Oliveira – who won the previous race handsomely - could only muster a 13th-place finish but crucially collected a further three points for the team standings championship. However, if KTM are to remain the unlikeliest of championship contenders, then they must improve their performance around the Circuit of the America (Cota) in Austin, Texas, this weekend.
Brad does have some podium experience to draw from in the US – in 2016, the year he won the Moto3 world championship, he finished third in the GP. Last year, upon MotoGP returning to Cota, the 26-year-old finished ninth after qualifying in the fourth row of the grid in 11th. His time then was 2.03.781.
Younger brother, Darryn also didn’t have the greatest of races in Argentina, but still managed to finish a credible 18th. In doing so, he lost the lead amongst the Rookies in the elite category, and now trails Italian Marco Bezzecchi of Italy for that honour by one point.
The WithU Yamama RNF team rider has never really enjoyed Cota, his best finish in Austin a seventh-placed finish in Moto3 last year. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, he will do well to place in the Top 15, and thus scoring a point or two, but perhaps his main focus should simply be to finish ahead of the rest of the debutants for now.
The Grand Prix of the Americas main event starts at 8.30pm on Sunday.