Brad Binder Gambles and Wins in Austria
Date posted on August 16, 2021
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder somehow mastered a soaking wet Red Bull Ring on slick tyres to win an unforgettable Austrian MotoGP.
A capacity crowd of 86,000 at Austrian’s Red Bull Ring were treated to a classic, race-long, multi-bike MotoGP battle and witnessed Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder win a breathless dry-to-wet Grand Prix on slick tyres in treacherous conditions.
Starting 10th on the grid, the South African rode superbly as the rain went from light to heavy, with the key moment being when the leaders elected to pit with just a handful of laps remaining and swap their dry weather bikes for the wet weather set up machines.
Binder gambled and stayed out on slicks despite the late-race heavy rain and incredibly managed to stay on to show career-defining skill and bravery to cross the line in first place before his rivals could get their wet weather tyres to work sufficiently.
Around an hour before Binder delivered an unexpected home win for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, there were dramatic scenes just minutes before the scheduled start of the Austrian MotoGP™ as the dark clouds gathered overhead, delivering light rain, but not enough for event organizers to declare a wet race.
Starting on slick tyres from pole position for the second time in seven days, Jorge Martín powered through the drizzle to lead into the first corner, followed by the works Ducati of Francesco Bagnaia, who soon slipped into the lead halfway round the first lap.
As the light rain continued to fall, it was a Ducati one-two-three with Martín’s team-mate Johann Zarco moving up into third before passing for second, making his lap a record-breaking pace shown over the weekend.
Starting a stellar fifth place despite a troublesome shoulder following a practice crash, Honda’s Marc Márquez soon moved up into third and set about challenging Zarco for second place as the action proved fast and furious upfront.
The soft-tyre-shod Márquez momentarily took second place on lap six from Martín before losing out to Zarco and then Fabio Quartararo in a thrilling early race battle for second place with the rain continuing to fall lightly over the circuit accompanied by a few claps of thunder.
By lap 10, the rain intensified, and the skies darkened, but there was no let-up in the intense battle among the top five riders with Jack Miller holding a watching brief in sixth place with reigning champion Joan Mir close behind. With 14 laps remaining, the top three of Bagnaia, Quartararo and Márquez started to pull away from fourth place Martín, with Márquez showing no signs of injury as he hustled Quartararo all the way around the Spielberg circuit.
A mistake under-braking on lap 20 from Quartararo at turn three handed Márquez second place, and the six-time premier class champion immediately put pressure on leader Bagnaia. Two laps later, he made one of the passes of the season before losing out to the Ducati’s superior top-end speed.
With five laps remaining, the rain had truly arrived. Miller hit the pit lane to switch to his wet-weather setup bike as the top six bikes started to noticeably slow and slip and slide around the Red Bull Ring. Márquez emerged in the lead, with KTM’s Binder suddenly appearing from nowhere and joining the battle for the victory.
Two laps later, all five front runners, except Binder, pitted to swap their bikes for wet weather set up. Binder sensationally staying out on slick tyres began to lead the race.
Lapping 10 seconds slower than the dry track pace, Binder pressed on into the unknown as Márquez retired following a crash at turn one. Still, upfront, the South African kept his head and crossed the line on slick tyres to claim his second premier class victory as the rain pounded down ahead of a hard-chasing Bagnaia and Martín in third for Pramac Ducati.
Commenting after the race, Binder said: “When I saw the rain starting to come, I took my opportunity, and I fought as hard as I could and closed up onto the front group. When I saw the guys pull into the pits, I decided to take the gamble and try and push it out to the end, and it was so incredibly sketchy to try and get the bike home.
“My brakes stopped working because with carbon brakes, as soon as they lose temperature, that’s like, you don’t have brakes anymore, so I lost my brakes with two laps to go, and when my tires went cold, there was no grip at all! I’m super happy to come home with the win, especially here in Austria at Red Bull and KTM’s home Grand Prix.”
Behind Binder’s headline-grabbing performance, there was further reason to smile for KTM as Tech3 KTM rider Iker Lecuona followed up his quick practice pace to finish sixth, capping his best result in MotoGP.
Third place for pole position winner Martín marks his second visit to the Red Bull Ring podium in a week following his masterful victory at the Styrian Grand Prix. The Ducati man will look to build on his form as the riders head to Silverstone for the British MotoGP.
MotoGP of Austria results
1. Brad Binder – KTM (SA)
2. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati (ITA)
3. Jorge Martín – Ducati (SPA)
4. Joan Mir – Suzuki (ESP)
5. Luca Marini – Ducati (ITA)
6. Iker Lecuona – KTM (ESP)
7. Fabio Quartararo – Yamaha (FRA)
8. Valentino Rossi – Yamaha (ITA)
9. Álex Márquez – Honda (ESP)
10. Aleix Espargaró – Aprilia (ESP)
credit: Red Bull
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