Binder fights back for fifth place


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider gains 6 positions in the race, to cross the line fifth. Hanika achieves his first Top 10 of the year and Oliveira DNFs.


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder crossed the finish line in fifth place at Austin, Texas, in the second Moto3 race of the year, improving on his tenth place from the season opener in Qatar. The South African overcame mixed track conditions to complete the contest close to the podium spots, after starting from the fourth row of the grid. Also gaining positions –ten, to be precise– was Karel Hanika, who repeated his result from last year with tenth. Miguel Oliveira could not complete the race after a crash on lap eleven, when he was fighting for the podium.

Despite the threat of rain and mixed track conditions, the Moto3 race was declared dry. More cautious than ever, Brad Binder set off from eleventh position on the grid, ready to latch onto the front group. Despite losing touch on the first five laps, the South African joined the group later on with Vazquez and Bastianini, in search of the podium. By the end of the race, Binder was less than a second off third place.

Karel Hanika dropped down two places at the start, completing the first lap in twenty-second position. This did not prevent the Czech rider from gradually moving up the order during the 18-lap race, eventually reaching tenth. Miguel Oliveira had led the race in the early stages and had set the fastest lap, but crashed out when in contention for his first podium of the year.

In the overall standings for the Moto3 class, Brad Binder is currently seventh with 17 points. Karel Hanika is tenth with 9 points. With no time to rest, the Red Bull KTM Ajo team head directly to Termas de Río Hondo, in Argentina, where the third round of the calendar will be held next weekend.

Results – Race
1. Danny Kent (Honda) 41:32.287
2. Fabio Quartararo (Honda) +8.632
3. Efren Vazquez (Honda) +8.652
4. Enea Bastianini (Honda) +8.811
5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +8.556
10. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +20.913

Moto3 World Championship Standing 2015
1. Danny Kent (Honda) 41 points
2. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 33 points
3. Fabio Quartararo (Honda) 29 points
4. Efren Vazquez (Honda) 29 points
5. Alexis Masbou (Honda) 25 points
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 17 points
10. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 9 points

Miguel Oliveira,
“The race started pretty well for us. I was able to get a good start and led the way in the early stages, until Kent passed me and opened up a small gap. The whole group passed me on the back straight and I lost one or two seconds on that lap. I was unable to stay with the lead group and from then on I suffered a lot; I didn’t feel as comfortable as yesterday, the bike was sliding more than normal and with eight laps to go, I crashed out. I couldn’t do anything about it. My goal was to finish the race and the crash caught me out, but I remain confident in my team and I know that in the coming races we can do a good job. I just have to keep working and fighting in every race. I am sure that the moment will come –we just need to work on the mechanical side of things to make some improvements, and we’ll be there.”

Brad Binder,
“The race was very difficult, because at the beginning I felt some chattering that did not give me enough confidence to push, which forced me to be more cautious. In the second half of the race it seemed to have been resolved enough to push harder, so I was able to try to be smoother and ride better.
At the end I was more confident, so I’m glad that I got a good result and am happy with this fifth place.”

Karel Hanika,
“It was a difficult race today, because I still don’t have a lot of confidence when the track is slightly wet and I’m on slicks. My start was not good, I lost positions and dropped down the field. I tried to set my own pace, begin to overtake other riders and not make any mistakes, because there were some wet patches and it was very easy to lose the front –or simply crash. I concentrated hard and, by the end, I kept overtaking other riders. On the last lap I was up to eighth or ninth, but eventually I finished tenth. I’m happy with the result, because the weekend has been difficult for the team and for me. We worked hard and I have to thank them for the good work they have done. I look forward to working together again in Argentina and getting another good result.”

Aki Ajo – Team Manager
“It is clear that we cannot be entirely happy with the race today, although two of our riders have been up in the leading group. I think the main problem is that winter testing was not good, due to the weather, and our bike is brand new this year. I think we need more laps in the dry in order to better understand the bike and analyse the best setup for each rider. I want to thank Miguel [Oliveira] Brad [Binder] and Karel [Hanika], because they are doing very good job. I understand Miguel’s crash, because I think he had to ride slightly over the limits to keep up with the group. We need a little more time; at the factory they are working hard and soon we will have some updates. I am convinced that Miguel will be fighting for victories and podiums, just like Brad and Karel.”