Binder not only rocketed from tenth on the grid to an early second place last Sunday but had the pace to hold a podium position right until the penultimate lap, when he was finally passed by Aleix Espargaro.
“The layout suited our bike, there wasn’t too much hard braking stuff, just keeping speed and flowing,” Binder explained on the eve of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
“That’s one thing that worked better for us this season. It used to be our weakest point, now it’s our strongest. Now we need to improve in the small corners.
“Honestly, this season we’ve been having a lot more issues stopping the bike and driving off slow corners,” explained the South African.
“We just seem to get locking of the front really early in braking zones. We don’t have the deceleration that others have.
“They can brake later than us at this stage. Also we don’t quite turn fast enough in these slow corners. we spend too much time in lean angle and don’t go down the straight close enough.
“So I think there are a couple of points [at Motegi] that might be tricky. When the track starts to be more round and flowing, that’s where it works well. Some parts here will be good for us, others more challenging.”
Gardner: I don’t know how Brad does it
Rookie Remy Gardner, riding the Tech3 KTM, said he was in awe of Binder’s performance at Aragon.
“I don’t know how Brad does it to be honest,” Gardner said. “I mean he’s got a really different riding style to all of us that’s for sure. He makes all the time up on entry, on brakes, having the bike sideways on entry with a really different set-up as well.
“We’ve tried that. I can’t make it work and I don’t think many other guys can. But it seems like it’s the only way to make the KTM go fast at the moment. I mean there will be tracks where our style will suit better that’s for sure.
“But Aragon, I have no idea how he did that to be honest.”
Oliveira: It’s the slow corners where we’re struggling
Binder’s factory team-mate Miguel Oliveira, the only KTM rider with prior MotoGP experience at Motegi, agreed it’s slow corners where the RC16 suffers at the moment.
“Right now it’s the [slow] corners where we’re struggling the most, not in terms of pure acceleration, but the stopping and turning at this initial moment, it’s a thing where we suffer more,” Oliveira said.
“But sometimes in a different layout of a track, this is something we can’t see so much. I’m quite confident we can perform well here. It’s really hard on the brakes so we have to sort the brakes first and make sure everything works over distance.
“It’s also one of the tracks where we’ll use the ride-height device the most. We’ve had no issues and it looks like we can use it as many times as we’d like during the lap.
“The weather doesn’t look fantastic, so we’ll be looking to make the most of tomorrow’s practice.”
Oliveira took KTM’s only victory of the season so far in the wet Mandalika round.