Brad Binder finishes third on day two of Jerez test
Story: Donovan Fourie
Testing continues for the Moto2 and Moto3 riders, this time again at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain. Day one was mostly rained out, a problem that has plagued pre-season testing this year. Thankfully, day two was mostly clear and sunny, and the Moto2 riders managed a full two and a half hours of testing time.
Brad Binder used the time to better refine the settings on his KTM Moto2 machine and, despite being on old tyres, set a time that put him in third place, just 0.188 sec off first place finisher, Sam Lowes, who dropped back to the Moto2 class after a year in MotoGP. Impressively, the top three finishers for the day were all on KTMs. Miguel Oliveira, Binder’s team mate and the man that seems to be Binder’s benchmark, finished in eighth.
What is also interesting is Binder’s pace on old tyres, with them using sets that had more than a race distance on them and still setting a good pace. This has become a defining character for the South African – if you think back to last year, the majority of his good finishes came after a late race charge. The problem was always his pace on new rubber, particularly a new rear Dunlop that had a tendency to push the front tyre in corners leading to the bike going wide. When the rear gets some wear, it spins a little helping the bike turn and this is when Binder is quick. The problem with this is that qualifying takes place on new tyres, and so far the other riders have been able to take better advantage of this than Binder. Let’s see how this year goes as he continues to adapt.
One thing that is a worrying prospect for Binder’s competition is the fact that his pace is usually better in the race than in practice or testing. Suddenly, third and just 0.188 sec off seems daunting indeed.
“I’m very happy. I think that we’ve taken some important steps forward; we’ve been able to understand the behaviour of the bike better when the tyres have race distance in them. The important thing is that we have been able to set very good times with tyres that have more laps in them than the duration of a race, as this is very positive for me. In the second session I felt a little more comfortable, I came in and we made a small change that will definitely help me feel more comfortable and allowed me to run a good pace. I feel that we have a very good setup and I feel ready for Qatar. We’ve worked very well and are prepared to get the first race underway. We’ll put in a few laps in the wet tomorrow, but only if the track is really wet.”
Combined Moto2 Standings Day Two
1. Sam Lowes (KTM) 1:41.823
2. Iker Lecuona (KTM) 1:41.960 +0.137
3. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.011 +0.188
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 1:42.011 +0.188
5. Xavi Vierge (Kalex) 1:42.127 +0.304
8. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.395 +0.572
Gallery – click to enlarge: