Brad 0.1 of a second from P1 in Thailand
Brad Binder doubled-up with podium finishes at a hot Chang International Circuit and took part in a magnificent Sunday race that saw the 2023 Thai Grand Prix deliver the fourth closest podium finish in the history of the sport. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider fought for the lead and finished in 3rd by the slimmest of margins.
After the upheaval for the MotoGP class in Australia the previous weekend (the Saturday Sprint replaced by the full distance race due to the inclement weather forecast and cancellation of the Sunday agenda at Phillip Island), the Chang International Circuit provided a return to normality. Even though Red Bull KTM Factory Racing were able to watch Brad notch a sixth podium of the season in the Saturday Sprint and absorb critical tire data in race conditions for the Sunday 26-lapper, the insufferable heat meant a demanding and difficult scenario, similar to what the teams and riders had encountered in India and Indonesia in recent events.
As on Saturday, Brad and teammate jack Miler launched from 5th and 15th slots on the grid but with full knowledge that tire preservation would be key to race pace throughout the 26-lap chase. Both RC16s started well and it was Brad who hovered with the leaders in the opening stages. The South African moved up from 5th to 2nd and then closed a small gap to the back of Jorge Martin. When Francesco Bagnaia joined the pair, a three-way tussle for the win took place.
Brad grabbed the lead briefly and then smothered the rear wheel of Martin all the way through the final lap. He almost slid out on Turn 4 and the incident took the #33 marginally onto the green track limits. Although Brad crossed the line just 0.11 of a second behind Martin he was demoted to 3rd spot. The trophy still represented the ninth of his career in the premier class – all with the KTM RC16 – and the fourth of the season.
Brad continues to occupy 4th in the world championship standings and needs 61 points to be able to displace Marco Bezzecchi for the top three and with only a maximum of 75 left to go this season. Miller is 10th as the Aussie nears the end of his first term in MotoGP orange. The team are currently ranked 4th and KTM are the second-best manufacturer.
After a well-earned break, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will join their peers at the Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysian Grand Prix from November 9th-12th.
“I tried my best today and left nothing on the table. I wanted to keep as much rubber as I could while I was behind Jorge. I saw my opportunity and tried to go but a lap later that was it for my rear tire. We did what we could. My team did a terrific job and I’m sure the win is coming.”