Brad Binder claimed Red Bull KTM honours as the MotoGP Portimao test came to a close on Sunday.
Sitting ninth in the combined times with a 1’38.480 fastest lap - eight places and half a second ahead of teammate Jack Miller - Binder’s final progress saw him find one and a half seconds from Saturday, despite two crashes as the South African continued to struggled for grip on the RC16.
“We made a good step forward today,” Binder confirmed from Portugal on Sunday evening. “We had to rethink things last night because what we were doing I wasn’t quite happy with. The team did a great job to make me more comfortable today and I was able to push a bit harder so we’re a lot closer to where we need to be.
“I feel more comfortable on the bike for sure but there’s definitely a step we can make still before the race. We got some really important data going forward and from here on out, let’s see, I think we’re more or less ready going into the season.
“I did a little sprint race kind of thing,” he continued, reflecting on the additional preparation needed for 2023’s new schedule. “Just to try and find my bearings for the first sprint race of the year. For me, it was clear we weren’t quite at the level I want to be over those 12 or 14 laps, but it gives us time to really go sit down, analyse everybody that also did one and see what the right choice is for next week.”
While his sprint race has yet to be dialled in, Binder’s one lap pace - an issue in previous seasons - seems to be on the rise.
“We did a couple time attacks today,” he confirmed. “It went pretty good, much better than I expected!
“Seem more comfortable actually when we put in new tyres than on old ones, which is normally the complete opposite for us, so clearly we’ve done something right in some areas, but missing in others.
‘I think we aren’t super far off. We closed from more than a second off yesterday to where we are today so a huge step forward. I’m ready to keep pushing, and let’s see what we can do in the Grand Prix weekend.”