Interview with Brad Binder: “I have to take this opportunity”28/07/2016
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider leads the Moto3 overall standings by 47 points and has already made history for a South African rider in the World Championship.
Never before he had won race in the World Championship, but this year Brad Binder has made the change necessary to claim 3 wins and 4 podiums in only 9 races. With these excellent results, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider is leader of the Moto3 standings by 47 points at the halfway mark of the season. It is an opportunity that the South African does not want to let slip away in the next 9 races.
Did you ever imagine that you would be in this situation after the first half of the season?
“It’s what I worked towards during preseason. It was my goal: To fight to be World Champion. The truth is that everything is going very well, and we have done a great job each week. The first Grand Prix at which I made a mistake was Assen, but it was only matter of time before something went wrong because until then had been great. In short, I am very happy with these good results and I’m going to stay focused until the end, working as I have before.”
What has changed from last year?
“I sincerely believe that I am much better prepared. I feel stronger and I had to take this opportunity given to me by Red Bull KTM Ajo.”
Has the bike changed a lot compared to last season?
“It is virtually the same as at the last 4-5 races last year. Perhaps we have taken a step forward in some aspects of the configuration and setup, but the biggest change is thanks to the work we are doing and the experience that we gain every day with the KTM.”
You took seven consecutive podium finishes in the first seven races, in a very difficult class. Is regularly placing in the top three the key to being the series leader?
“Yes, that’s what I look for. If I see that I can win the race, I want to win; but if I see that I can’t, then placing on the podium is the way to go. The season is very long and every point counts.”
What is the secret to getting on the podium in Moto3?
“The most important thing is to know your strengths and your weaknesses. The key is to get the most possible out of the things in which you feel strong, especially for the final laps. Experience also influences things. The more experience you have, the more respect you earn. I’ve been in Moto3 for a long time and that makes me feel strong.”
What have been best and worst GPs for you this season?
“The best race was definitely at Jerez -it is the best I’ve ridden in my life. Besides being my first win, it is something I will never forget. The worst was Assen. I had the feeling it could be a great weekend and we could make the podium, but I made a mistake. I opened the throttle too early, lost grip and I saved the crash, but I could not get back into the lead group because the grass was very wet and it took me two or three laps to clean the tyres and increase their temperature.”
Last season you managed great results in the second half of the year. Are these more favourable tracks for your riding style?
“My favourite circuits are coming up in the second half of the year. I really enjoy them and they are somewhere I always go well. The only track I don’t like so much is Silverstone, but the others are my favourites: Misano is great, Aragon is amazing and we will see in Austria how I get on in the race. Australia, Malaysia and Japan are probably the three circuits where I feel strongest.”
The Austrian Grand Prix will be special for Red Bull and KTM, and it will be your first race there. What do you expect from the GP? Are you going to prepare differently for it?
“We will arrive with a small advantage because we have done a two-day test there, giving us a first contact with a completely new circuit. We want to do well because we know that it is an important GP for Red Bull and KTM, but we must keep calm and be aware that there are another 25 points at stake, just like any other race.”
Would you agree now to take the title fight into the final round?
“I wish I could win the title, and it would be even better if I could do so before arriving at the last round; but for now I am focusing on giving 100% at every race. If I am able to be World Champion, then great; but if not, I will have done the maximum possible.”
What can you tell us about your teammate, Bo Bendsneyder?
“Bo is a great rider and very talented. Moto3 is a difficult category and the more experience you have, the easier it is. He is doing very well and I’m sure next year he will be even better.”
How do you see your colleague in the Ajo Motorsport Moto2 structure, Johann Zarco, who is competing to be champion again?
“Zarco is one of the riders I look up to the most. You see him ride and he never seems out of control; he’s always very relaxed and smooth. When I get to Moto2 I want to be like him. It will not be easy, but I would like that.”
Are you already a star in South Africa after the first half of the season?
“I would not say a star, but I have had some extra autographs to sign since then [laughs]. It does not stress me out or worry me. In fact, if it didn’t happen I would be a bit worried, because it would mean that I wasn’t doing my job well.”