Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder was back fighting at the front of a MotoGP race on Sunday and while denied a podium at Aragon there was plenty to be pleased about for the South African, especially considering the ankle injury sustained on Saturday.
“Yeah, shit. It was disappointing not to be standing on the podium today, but it is what it is,” the straight talking Binder said from Motorland Aragon. “I mean, I honestly can’t complain.
“I woke up this morning and I could barely walk to take a leak. When I rolled out of bed I felt terrible.
“But after warm up, once I got warmed up a little bit, I felt much better and my ankle loosened up a lot. In the race it didn’t bother me too much so that was really good but today was a great day, honestly. I had an amazing start, my bike worked well. Thank you to my team for putting in the huge effort. They gave me the best bike in the race as they always do. I’m happy with the job we did, but would have loved to have been standing on the podium today.
“Yeah, I don’t know quite how I managed to do it to be honest!” Binder admitted on the lightning start from tenth on the grid to second on the opening lap. “I just took my own line and I think everyone else maybe got into a bit of trouble. Quite happy to have made such an amazing start. I actually turned into turn four and I just saw one guy in front of me and I was like, ‘Jeez! Crazy!’
“It was so much better to be upfront early on, you could push from the beginning of the race. There wasn’t that crazy fighting and losing so much time in the opening lap so it made a huge difference to my race today and it just shows you how important it is to qualify further forward.”
While the start was electric, the closing stages saw the double MotoGP race winner lose out on his first podium since Qatar to Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.
“I tried my best to get back straight on him as soon as he passed me but he did a great job,” the 27-year-old said of his rival. “When he passed me he didn’t make one mistake, kept everything in line.
“I think I played my cards a little bit too early. I pushed really hard to try go with the boys at the beginning and even though I was still trying to save my tyre a little bit, I think I probably burnt the lefthand side a bit more than the others. So the last three laps I did struggle a bit with the grip but yeah, at the end of the day, what can I say?
“I’m happy to have fought up front again. It’s been a long time. So hope this sets the tone for our away races.
“I think that the biggest thing I can take from my race today is that I really, really gave my best from the beginning to the end,” he continued. “I was really on the limit a lot of times but I didn’t make mistakes either. So even though I’d wash the front a lot, I managed to keep it up straight, didn’t go over that edge and I was really consistent. I learned something important at the end of the race today that I can use for future.”