Brad takes fourth in frantic Saturday #AustralianGP race
The speed and spiral of the magnificent Phillip Island circuit was the stage for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder to thrill in a typically close and exciting battle for the podium. A cool and breezy climate in southern Australia greeted the Saturday schedule that saw the MotoGP Sprint swapped for the full-length Grand Prix race due to the stormy forecast for Sunday.
MotoGP’s continent hopping continued for the second week in a row and with the eagerly awaited trip to the state of Victoria, Phillip Island and Australia. The flowing 4.4km layout is renowned for the high speed streak of 12 corners as much as for the stunning scenery next to the ocean and is revered by both riders and fans alike.
The notoriously fickle climate in the area for the time of year meant that MotoGP soaked-up sunshine and decent temperatures on Friday for Practice. Saturday however was cooler and windier and high winds and storms were predicted for Sunday. The organizers therefore decided to run the full 27-lap race in place of the Saturday Sprint: the first Saturday GP dash since 2015 and the Dutch TT.
Brad had already cast his line on Friday around the circuit alongside the deep blue of the Bass Straight with the fastest lap-time, less than two tenths of a second away from the lap record.
He was again rapid from the outset on Saturday and recorded P2 for his third career MotoGP front row start – and a personal best. Miller was 0.8 from Pole Position and qualified 8th for the third row.
The Grand Prix started with Brad chasing Jorge Martin and trying to manage his medium rear tire. Jack was busy with his battle in the second group and pushed all the way to make the top seven. The final two laps saw a gripping tussle for the podium and Brad was part of a five-rider dispute that was split by just one second at the checkered flag. Brad pipped Martin out of the last corner to secure P4.
Depending on the conditions, MotoGP will hold a 13-lap Sprint tomorrow.
2nd in qualification, 4th in the race:
“Really happy with qualifying…and the first 25 laps of the race! I felt great but was having a couple of issues in the faster corners when the tire performance dropped. I was able to work out a solution in the last sector and gained a bit more pace again. I was chasing [Jorge] Martin and not really thinking too much about what was going on behind me and before I knew it I went from 2nd to 5th! Anyway, I think we had a strong race even if that was not the result we wanted. We also made huge progress if we look at how we went here last year.”