Binder races from 20th to fifth at Aragon
Brad Binder continued his rivalry with qualifying by putting his KTM Moto2 bike on the 20th grid spot at Aragon in Spain. The position was even more difficult to fathom given that his KTM team mate, Miguel Oliveira, was on pole.
This has been a theme for the South African throughout his career, more so now in Moto2 – a mediocre performance in practice and qualifying followed by a dazzling race. The 20th grid placing, and being 1.1 sec behind his team mate, was actually an improvement considering he was 23rd in the mixed conditions of Friday practice, a full two seconds behind the pacesetter. The fact is that Aragon was not going well.
Sunday morning arrived and it was clear that the team had been making some changes, because Binder suddenly found himself in 7th place in warm up running a pace faster than his qualifying time.
“This morning in the warm up I felt much more comfortable than yesterday; we took a step forward and I went almost 3 tenths faster than in qualifying. Before starting the race I was a bit nervous, because I knew that if I worked hard and everything was perfect, I could have the opportunity to get close to the riders at the front. At first it was difficult because it’s hard to pass riders on the opening corners here, but I was patient and overtook riders steadily.”
It has now become the norm for Binder to improve on Sunday during the race, but no one quite expected this. By the end of the first lap he was 12th, and by the end of the race he was hunting down championship contender Thomas Luthi for fourth place, missing it by just 0.150 sec and finishing a personal best of 4.3 sec behind the leader.
“To start from 20th position of the grid and finish 5th is reason to be more than happy. I can’t thank my team enough for what they have done today. I felt that I had the best bike on the grid. We have a test tomorrow, in which we will try some things and I would like to improve my riding as well; I think we can take another step forward.”
He is now up to tenth in the championship with 67 points and climbing steadily. With more to be learned from a day of testing today, we can surely expect even more improvement.