Darryn Binder enjoys best qualifying session of the year at Le Mans


Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider takes important step forward on Saturday afternoon at the French GP and will start the race from the fourth row.


On day two of the French GP action at Le Mans, Darryn Binder took the step up in results that he had been looking for in the three Free Practice sessions. In qualifying, the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider knocked more than half a second off his previous best time, to earn thirteenth place. A penalty for another rider means he will start tomorrow’s race from the fourth row of the grid.

The third Moto3 Free Practice session was a further illustration of the tremendous equality amongst the Moto3 riders. Binder began strong, improving on his Friday time on only his fifth lap. After stopping in the pits to change to new tyres, the South African continued to up his pace, and his 1:43.128 time that put him 23rd was only a second off pole position.

In the 40-minute qualifying session, Binder had a first run with used tyres, before switching to fresh rubber on the rear to break into the 1:42 mark for the first time. With 12 minutes to go he was up into the Top 15. However, it was not until his third stint, with new and tyres on both the front and the rear, that he used his final lap to set a personal best lap of 1:42.611. That earned him thirteenth place on the timesheets.

Tomorrow’s Moto3 race takes place from 11am local time. Binder was in the podium spots in last season’s contest at Le Mans before crashing late on, and hopes to take a good result tomorrow that will allow him to increase his points tally in the overall standings.


Results (Qualifying session)
1. Jorge Martin (Honda) 1:42.039
2. Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) 1:42.162 +0.123
3. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 1:42.163 +0.124
4. Marcos Ramirez (KTM) 1:42.189 +0.150
5. Albert Arenas (KTM) 1:42.214 +0.175
13. Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.611 +0.572


“I’m pretty happy with qualifying today. This weekend started with a few difficulties, but we have been working step-by-step in order to be ready today, and at the end of qualifying I felt prepared to set my fastest lap. I felt that maybe I could have done more, but the important thing is that we are closer to the front than before. Tomorrow in the race anyone could win, but we have to make a clean start and enjoy ourselves. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but I feel comfortable and I enjoy riding here.
A raceday Sunday is a very different day than qualifying on a Saturday. However, with the season that we are having, I’m not going to set any goals for myself. I’m just going to go step-by-step. If I finish in the Top 10 then great, and if I am in the Top 5, then that’s even better. We’ll see how far up we can get.”