“I feel I deserve to be in MotoGP”- Binder appeals to stay amid uncertain future

Darryn Binder believes he is justifying the controversial decision to promote him to MotoGP from Moto3 amid an uncertain future following RNF-Aprilia news

Darryn Binder - RNF Racing Yamaha

Darryn Binder has appealed for a ‘little bit of time to figure things out’ after his future in MotoGP was thrown into the air by the news that his RNF Racing team will switch from Yamaha to Aprilia machinery next season.

The South African - younger brother of KTM factory rider Brad - courted substantial publicity in the run up to his debut outing in the Qatar opener having been awarded a MotoGP promotion with RNF Racing Yamaha direct from Moto3 despite fairly modest results over multiple seasons.

However, the youngster has not only acquitted himself well against vastly more experienced rivals, but he’s done so on a year-old version of a Yamaha M1 package that has demonstrated lacklustre competitiveness in anyone other than Fabio Quartararo’s hands.

While yet to score in any race other than his spotlight-stealing run to tenth place during his second MotoGP outing in Indonesia, Binder has nonetheless been a match for experienced team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, especially in race trim.

However, after defeating factory rider Franco Morbidelli last time out in Mugello - despite having to take a long-lap penalty - Binder feels he is now getting to grips with the rigours of MotoGP.

“For sure [it was my best race],” Binder told Crash.net. “Obviously the position was better in Mandalika, but this was the first real race where I've been able to push throughout the whole race.

“I found the step I was looking for on Friday with the confidence in the front end. So all weekend I felt quite happy with how things were on the bike.

“It was such a shame that I had to do the long lap. But fortunately, I managed to join back in amongst the guys. Every single lap, I just started to understand a bit more when the tyre dropped. And I feel like I was really able to just ride and learn.

“I managed to bring it home as the second Yamaha and it makes me happy.”

Is there room for Binder at RNF Aprilia in 2023 MotoGP?

While Binder’s controversial appointment direct from MotoGP - a move that led some riders petitioning the FIA to intervene against it - had been justified as a way for Razlan Razali to get back to developing young talent as he had with Quartararo, it remains to be seen whether RNF Racing’s new allegiance with Aprilia will forfeit its final say on who rides its bikes in 2023.

To an extent, Binder’s performances have indeed been one of the most unexpected - and pleasant - surprises of the 2022 MotoGP season thus far. Indeed, though there is just the one trip to the points so far, he’s stacked up very well against Dovizioso and evidently has more to come.

It’s a process Binder concedes is still ongoing, but he feels he has vindicated himself in the meantime, not least considering the backlash that had many assuming he’d be out of his depth.

"I feel like I deserve to be here, I do know how to ride a motorcycle! And I feel like I've got the potential to do well. I just need a little bit of time to figure things out."

Time might not be on his side though. RNF Racing’s decision to partner with Aprilia for the 2023 MotoGP season was motivated by a mutual desire from both parties to work closely in terms of development and to use it as a platform for up-and-coming talent.

While Binder certainly still fulfils that brief, Aprilia’s greater input on who will assume the two seats on what has proven one of the year’s most competitive bikes sees Binder up against a formidable list of candidates, of which Aron Canet, Celestino Vietti, Tony Arbolino and Raul Fernandez have rumoured to head up.

With 24 MotoGP riders already to consider across 22 seats, even before you include a handful of Moto2 graduates, even if Binder has RNF Racing in his corner, he will need to capitalise privileged MotoGP platform as a means of convincing Aprilia he is worth investing in.