Solid fifth place for Brad Binder in the #QatarGP
The penultimate round of a long MotoGP season and a relentless second phase of the campaign saw Brad Binder take his KTM RC16 to 5th position through the Qatari night air and at a glistening Lusail International Circuit. The South African pushed to the limit to rise as high as 3rd and then had to nurse his front tire to the top five.
The immense lighting system, the remodeled infrastructure and presentation, the fast, flowing and challenging 5.4km, 16-corner layout, the desert setting and nighttime spectacle: very few events have the look, feel and character of the Qatar Grand Prix. Red Bull KTM already had a taste of the unique grip but high abrasion demands of the Lusail tarmac on Saturday but the 22 laps of the full Grand Prix on Sunday was another task.
Brad and teammate Jack Miller set off from 10th and 15th places on the grid and hopeful of mods for optimum performance throughout the 22-laps. It was Brad who was unsurprisingly higher up the order in the opening exchanges and he then pushed and probed his way into 3rd and then valiantly tried to hold the slot as his front tire grip began to fade. He ended the race 5th and less than three seconds from the third step of the podium.
When the checkered flag waved, and fantastic LED displays started to flicker Binder’s 11 points further hammered home his 4th place for 2023. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing are likely to confirm 4th in the Teams standings while KTM hold 2nd in the Constructors contest.
The Circuito de Ricardo Tormo brings the 2023 season to a conclusion where KTM’s MotoGP adventure began with a wildcard appearance in 2016, where they celebrated their maiden podium in 2018 and where Binder achieved runner-up distinction in 2022. Valencia is once more the scene for the final Grand Prix of the year and the latest ever finale to the world championship. Round twenty takes place next weekend.
“Today was actually really good. To walk away with a 5th and to fight for the podium was very positive. My rear tire was perfect but my front tire gave-up after about twelve laps in, from there I was just trying to survive. Probably one of the hardest races I had in terms of dealing with the limit. I just wanted to bring it home in a solid 5th. My team did a great job to get us in this position today because the weekend was much more tricky than we anticipated.”