Binder returns to action at Le Mans


Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider gets back on his KTM for the first time since his injury at Jerez and ends the first day of the French GP just 1 second off the fastest time.


The legendary Le Mans Circuit hosted the opening day of action at the French GP on Friday -an event that celebrates its 31st edition in this track. Darryn Binder used the first day to test his fitness after missing the last race, and the results were positive as he improved in each of the sessions to place 24th overall -only 1 second of the top spot.

Binder had used a supermoto training session on Tuesday to check his physical condition, with a good feeling. On Friday he was back riding his Moto3 machine. The results were satisfactory from the start, as he was up into the Top 10 in the first quarter of an hour. It was on his first stint that he set his best lap of the session: a 1:44.449. A small crash at Turn 3 with 2 minutes remaining forced him to conclude FP1 early, claiming 26th place.

The start of FP2 was not easy for the South African, who struggled to get back on the pace. It was only after his single stop in the pits, changing to new tyres, that his feeling got better. The definitive breakthrough came with 7 minutes remaining, as he lowered his top time from the morning and put in his best series of laps. The session was so close that his 1:43.689 lap for 23rd was just 1.093s off the fastest rider.

Tomorrow sees qualifying take place from 12:35pm local time, in which Binder will try to improve on his top result so far of the fifth row at Austin.


Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Niccolo Antonelli (Honda) 1:42:596
2. Kaito Toba (Honda) 1:42.644 +0.048
3. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 1:42.773 +0.177
4. Tony Arbolino (Honda) 1:42.852 +0.256
5. Marco Bezzecchi (KTM) 1:42.861 +0.265
24. Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:43.689 +1.093


“I definitely feel better than when I left Jerez. I’m still a little sore, especially when putting in a few laps in a row, but it’s bearable; it’s not very painful. This morning when I went out, I just wanted to feel good again, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get comfortable and I crashed at the end of the session. At the end of FP2 I started to go faster. Our position is not the best, but we are feeling better all the time, we are enjoying riding and in the end we are only 1 second off the quickest rider. Maybe I’ll take some painkillers for tomorrow. I hope that tomorrow I can enjoy myself on the bike and gain places on the grid.”