Grand prix

Brad Binder on MotoGP competitiveness: “MotoGP? You don’t know whether you’re coming or going!” | MotoGP

KTM unveiled their 2023 livery, and will pair Binder with Jack Miller in a new-look 2023 MotoGP rider line-up – the team must hope that the sport continues to produce first-time world champions.

Joan Mir, Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia have won the top prize for the first time in the past three years – the experienced duo of Binder and Miller dream of upsetting the odds in the coming year.

“With MotoGP at the minute, you don’t know whether you’re coming or going,” Binder said.

“You might be fighting for a podium one weekend but be two seconds off at the end of the race whilst fighting for fifth or sixth place. So, MotoGP at the minute is so tight and so competitive, it’s just as thrilling for us, the riders, as it is for the fans watching on TV, at the moment. 

“The only thing I worry about is podiums and winning races so that’s my goal, that’s what I’m there to do. 

“If you look at the bigger picture and how we had some really tough times last season. To finish sixth in the championship is great but by no means where I want to be. I want to be fighting with the guys all the time and I’m here to fight for the title. 

“It’s what I want to achieve in my life and yeah, we just got to keep working and I honestly believe it’s something we can achieve. I think our best shot we’ve ever had at getting it right will be this season.”

Binder is entering his fourth season in the premier class, his ninth in the Red Bull KTM colours. Both he and new teammate Miller have won MotoGP races. There is genuine cause for optimism for the Austrian manufacturer.

“I feel great this season,” Binder said. “We ended last season in a good way, we left the last test with a lot of small improvements. 

“Of course, there are things we need to work on but in general we’ve made a step forward. Any small step in MotoGP at the moment, considering how close it is… it can really go a long way. I really hope this all building up into a season we expect from ourselves and hopefully we can get the results we know we’re capable of.”

Binder insists the feelgood atmosphere within his garage can power him a long way: “It’s not something you work at. It came very naturally for me and my crew. 

“I’ve said it before: I have the most amazing crew behind me. They’re all, firstly, great people as well as really great at what they do. So that always makes things so easy. 

“You know, you’re excited to get to the track because you want to see the guys because they’re all your mates. It’s one thing I’ve always enjoyed and it’s one thing that really makes the travelling away from home and all that, much, much easier. And, of course, racing a MotoGP bike for a living is also pretty cool!”

The KTMRC16 will be properly displayed at the Sepang test in February.

Binder knows what he’s hoping to find: “Throughout last season it was extremely clear what we needed to be faster. We needed… the thing was, it wasn’t just one specific point. Our bike did everything quite well, we just needed everything to be a tiny bit better. 

“We needed better stopping, a little bit better turning and more rear grip. So they have brought us a new bike which we did test in Valencia and it definitely touched a few of our problems and I feel it’s got the potential to grow from there so… looking back , I’m excited to see where we can take this thing and if we can find some rear grip and a bit of turning, it’ll go a long way.”

The 2023 MotoGP calendar will revolutionise the sport’s weekend due to the addition of MotoGP Sprint races.

“Sprint racing is going to be something that’s new to all of us,” Binder said. “A race in MotoGP on a Saturday is completely new but it’s something I’m excited for. 

“I always prefer racing. If I had to choose between racing or laps in FP4, I’d definitely choose racing every time so… it’s exciting for us. It brings something completely new. You don’t need to worry about your tire wear too much or anything like that. 

“It’s going to be an all-out race and I’m sure a huge fight from beginning to end. So exciting. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the first one turns out in Portimao.

“Essentially there’s 21 grands prix but there’s 42 races, that’s double what we’ve ever had. It’s going to change the format up a lot. You’re going to have start-off really fast on a Friday because there’s no time to fix things on a Saturday because you go straight into qualifying and the race. 

“Yeah, it’s going to mix things up a little bit for sure, I think it’s going to be a lot more pressure to perform every weekend because there’s more points on offer. Any small mistake can be a lot more costly, the way I see it.”

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