Brad Binder: “The team told me that the win would come”

26/07/2018

The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider talks about his brilliant first victory in Moto2, and reviews the first nine races of 2018.

After a great finale to his debut season in Moto2 –with three podium finishes from the last three races– the start of the 2018 campaign wasn’t easy for Brad Binder. However, the constantly improving former Moto3 World Champion goes into the summer break in good spirits, having taken his first win in the intermediate class at Sachsenring.

During the brief midseason pause, Binder looks back over the first nine races of the year, talks about his renewal with Red Bull KTM Ajo and explains his expectations for 2019.

You went into the summer break off the back of your first Moto2 victory. What do you remember about it?
“I had a good pace throughout the weekend; especially on Saturday, and also during the warmup I felt very strong. In the race, right from the start I saw that I had a better pace than my rivals, so I decided not to waste any time and to try to escape. Looking back, it was a mistake because my rear tyre went off more quickly. I didn’t think I would win, because I was hanging on at the end, but fortunately we did it.”

What are your impressions of the first half of the season?
“To be honest, it has been a more demanding first half to the season than we expected. I expected to be stronger, because I worked very hard during preseason and I was in good shape in the runup to Qatar. The team and I did our best to change the situation and, fortunately, all that effort came to fruition at Sachsenring. I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done; they have been working incredibly well for a year and they told me that the win was going to come.”

Why is it so difficult to match the level you showed at the end of 2017, when you took three consecutive podium finishes?
“Because this is a very evenly matched series and the slightest improvement can make a big difference. We had a very good run last year and a very competitive base setup, but our rivals have taken a step up in 2018. This season it was strange to finish sixth almost every weekend, but fortunately in Germany we turned the situation around and we were able to take the victory. Everything is a question of confidence; I know that if I feel comfortable on the bike, things go well. That was what happened at Sachsenring.”

What has been the most difficult part of the first half of 2018?
“The base is very good, but we could probably improve stability. I feel that other riders have more speed coming out of the corners, whereas I struggle to control the bike. Sometimes there is chatter, and other times I run wide. We have to work on this. The team already have some good ideas in mind and I’m sure we’re going to find the right way forward.”

Why is there so much difference between the results in Free Practice and Qualifying, compared to the races?
“It’s a combination of many factors. We’ve managed to be consistent and maintain a good pace, but it is very difficult for me to set a lap much faster than the rest. Others can set one or two laps much faster than their others. This actually benefits us a lot in the races, although starting from far back gives us a lot of work to do in order to get to the front.”

 

“I’m very happy to be continuing with the Red Bull KTM Ajo for another year; the victory at Sachsenring was the perfect way of celebrating the renewal.”

 

Now there’s the second half of the season, where you normally do well. What do you expect from the ten remaining races?
“In this stage of the season there are the circuits that suit me best; I suppose that’s why I usually go well. Besides that, I am confident that we are going to end the year very strong. I have complete faith in the team and in my abilities. I know we are going to find those small improvements that we are lacking and which will help us to make a difference in the championship, which is very tight.”

Do you have any goals for the coming races?
“I want to get to the point where I feel very comfortable, very confident and feel sure that I am going into the 2019 season in excellent form.”

Are you happy to have renewed with Red Bull KTM Ajo for another season?
“Yes, I’m very happy to be continuing with the team for another year; the victory at Sachsenring was the perfect way of celebrating the renewal. It’s amazing to spend another season in Moto2 with the best team on the grid and I’m really looking forward to seeing what awaits us in 2019.”

Are you worried about the change of engine for 2019?
“No. For me it is a new challenge and it will be the same for everyone. A lot will depend on the chassis, the setup and the way the team work.”

What plans do you have for the summer?
“I will spend a few days at home in South Africa, since it’s been a long time since I was last there. I want to spend time with my family and my friends again. I will try to train as much as possible during this break to get to Brno in the best possible shape, and achieve a great result on our return.”

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