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MotoGP Thailand GP

South Africa rugby triumph gave Binder “win or bust” Thai MotoGP race approach

KTM’s Brad Binder says South Africa’s victory in the Rugby World Cup gave him a “win or bust” feeling for the MotoGP Thailand Grand Prix in which he was third.

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Binder qualified fifth in Buriram and scored second in the sprint, before going on to fight hard for victory with Pramac’s Jorge Martin and Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia in Sunday’s race.

Briefly taking the lead late on in the grand prix, Binder ultimately crossed the line 0.114s adrift of Martin at the chequered flag – only to be demoted to third for exceeding track limits on the final lap.

It marked Binder’s first grand prix podium since the Austrian GP in August, with the South African admitting he was spurred on by his country’s defeat of New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday.

“I woke up this morning, saw South Africa had won the [rugby] World Cup and was feeling a bit win or bust,” Binder said after the race on Sunday.

“I gave it my absolute best, I must be honest. Jorge did an unreal job, I did my best to stay behind him and maintain my rear tyre and I thought I did exactly that.

“But the second I passed him I realised it had a little bit of a drop. So, it was tricky. Honestly, on the last lap, I said ‘I’m super, super close, I can put my wheel there and make it happen’.

“And going through Turn 4 I was a little hotter than before and I had a little wash on the front and went wide and touched the green.

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

“It’s never cool to lose a spot but at the end of the day I’m still on the podium and I gave it my all and I can’t complain.”

Binder added that he knew he’d exceeded track limits but didn’t relent in his assault on Martin as he would only have dropped to second had he overtaken the Pramac rider.

“I tried to brake late and roll through there,” Binder, who previously lost a podium at Assen for exceeding track limits on the last lap, noted.

“First, I had the brake on a bit longer and when I cracked the gas I pulled the weight off the front tyre.

“So, I tried to square it up but I touched the green. So, not ideal, but at the end of the day I tried to fight anyway, I tried to get past because I knew it would be a plus one [position drop].

“So at least if I got past, it would have been a first to second and not second to third.”

Binder was some 17 seconds up the road from the next-best KTM in the Thailand GP, which was his team-mate Jack Miller in 16th.

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Michelin’s stiffer rear tyre casing brought to Thailand to cope with the heat demands caused traction issues for most of the KTMs.

Binder concedes his bike wasn’t “really perfect” but found in the grand prix that the RC16 has “got some really strong points”.

“Well, I knew from the previous laps my best chance was in the third sector because that’s where I felt I had a little bit extra,” he said when asked where he could have overtaken Martin on the last lap.

“But, I tried anyway. I touched the green [run-off area] but it wasn’t meant to be today.

“But the thing I’m really happy about was things weren’t really perfect in the race but I figured out we’ve got some really strong points when I can really exploit them.

“And if we can make our weak points a tiny bit stronger I think we can be good.”

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