Brad Binder brought KTM back into the top five at the Assen race, a first since the Portuguese Grand Prix two months ago. A solid performance overall, which reinvigorated the Mattighofen side as they seek to turn the tide of a stagnating championship, notably by improving their qualifications.
The South African, who started from tenth place, managed to jump three positions when the lights went out before reaching fourth place on the fifth lap. Taken over by Maverick Viñales, then on his way to the podium, the KTM rider was able to take advantage of Jorge Martín’s slowdown after the arrival of the rain to keep fourth place despite everything until the 20th lap.
The last minutes of the race however reserved a big fight for him, opposing him first to Jack Miller but also to an Aleix Espargaró launched in a comeback that no one seemed to be able to resist. It was with unfeigned admiration that Binder greeted the Spaniard’s double overtaking in the last chicane, while he himself ratified the fifth final position, to the detriment of a Miller turkey of the stuffing in this superb fight.
“I’m happy to finish in the top 5, it’s been a long time,” Binder commented hotly to the official MotoGP website. But more than his positioning in itself, it was the level displayed during this race that allowed him to leave Assen satisfied with his record.
Since Jerez, he had only ranked between seventh and tenth place, but without ever having been able to start higher than 15th. This time, well placed from the first moments, he was able to play his card and finally reached the finish only 2.7 seconds from the winner at the end of one of the tightest races ever in MotoGP. “It’s nice. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this close to the lead. Last weekend [au Sachsenring]I was at 15 seconds and here I am at three seconds”, he rejoiced.
“It was a good race, I did my best all the way and felt like I was qualifying for 25 laps. It was tough!” he added, having felt like he was delivering an inconsistent performance. “I was losing a lot of time in some places and making up quite a bit in others, so this race kind of felt like a yo-yo. I was losing, I was recovering, I was losing, I was picking up… Yeah, it was hard.”
“I was losing a lot of time in turn 5, it took me too long to turn the bike and I was always a bit late getting out of the corner. I was making up time in sector 2, then I was losing a lot in sector 3 and I was catching up again in sector 4.”
Binder, whose second best result this season, was above all satisfied with the good impetus given by this Grand Prix, which he hopes will be beneficial for the future. “The team did a great job. The best bike I had of the weekend was the race one. I wasn’t happy with how it went in the warm-up, so they made a lot of changes for me and they definitely went in the right direction.”
“Hopefully it’s something we can build on for the future,” he pointed out. “It’s great for us to have finished so strong at the halfway mark. What we need to improve on was very clear this weekend, so I think even if we test things that don’t always work, it gives us a clear indication of what we need to be faster and what we need to move forward.”
Regular Oliveira… in 9th place
Like his teammate, Miguel Oliveira also returned to Q2 for the first time since Portugal, and he took a good eighth position on the starting grid of the Dutch Grand Prix, his second best qualification. at this stage of the season. His race, however, turned out to be radically different, turned upside down on the starting grid by a collision with Joan Mir in which his fairing and brake lever protection were damaged.
Having oscillated between eighth and tenth place once the race started, he finally crossed the finish line in ninth place… a result he obtained for the fourth time in a row!
“It’s good to finish in the top 10, but it’s always frustrating when you know we could have done better, and I knew we had the speed and the pace to be a bit faster,” commented the Portuguese pilot. “I was complaining that I needed to be more consistent, and now I think I’m down to four ninths! That’s not the consistency I would like to have. Now we have this break to pull ourselves together and come back stronger. form.”
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