“Scared he’ll race with us…”- MotoGP riders skewer Binder, call for Superlicence

MotoGP riders call for a Superlicence to be introduced to prevent potentially unqualified riders reaching the highest level amid criticism of Darryn Binder

Darryn Binder - Moto3

A handful of riders have called upon the FIM to consider introducing a ‘Superlicence’ across motorcycle racing amid concerns Darryn Binder isn’t the right candidate to make a switch from Moto3 to MotoGP following a controversial incident in Portimao this weekend.

The South African was at fault for a collision during the final lap of the Algarve Moto3 race that eliminated title contender Dennis Foggia and Sergio Garcia, in so doing making Pedro Acosta the 2021 Moto3 World Champion on the spot.

The awkward accident comes just two weeks after Binder was controversially selected to join the RNF Yamaha team for the 2022 MotoGP World Championship directly from Moto3, despite an indifferent scoresheet of only a single win from seven seasons of competition in the entry-level class.

With a handful of riders already questioning the wisdom of such a signing, this new incident has led to more vocal calls for something to be done to prevent riders making such a move without the results to back it up.

At Misano, Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro suggested MotoGP adopts a ‘Superlicence’ format similar to that which is used in F1. At Portimao, the idea gained more traction among other riders.

Visordown has discussed such a proposal at length already - CLICK HERE - but the basic definition of a Superlicence is: 

The licence in an F1 context was originally devised to stop drivers boasting more money than experience (ie. skill) joining the grid, though this has become less of an issue over the last 20 years as more stable finances deter teams from dipping into the ‘wealth-over-talent-pool’.

However, the Superlicence was overhauled again in the wake of Max Verstappen getting his F1 shot aged only 17 and with only a single season of car racing behind him. 

As part of the changes, it was determined that licence credits would be given depending on where they finish in feeder championships with a higher value to more relevant series (such as F2 and IndyCar) over others (such as F3 and WEC). A driver must then attain a certain number of these credits to qualify for the Superlicence they need to race in F1.

As an example, Yuki Tsunoda’s third place in the 2020 F2 Championship lifted him onto the threshold to secure his 2021 F1 Alpha Tauri drive. Had he finished fourth or lower in F2, he wouldn’t have accrued enough credits over his career.

“Superlicence is good… but look at Fabio Quartararo”

Among those to support the notion of a Superlicence was Ducati factory rider and Algarve MotoGP winner Pecco Bagnaia.

“I think that like in the car championship we need a super license, only if you are doing something [good] in your championship can you move up to the next level,” Bagnaia said.

"What we saw is normality I think because we have seen a lot of crashes like this from him [Binder]. I know that it’s not correct to say it about another rider, but this rider next year will be with us and with MotoGP we are faster and I hope that will not happen.”

Franco Morbidelli is also supportive of such a plan, but admits it could prevent some talents rising to the fore if they happen to have a bad season or get injured, pointing to Yamaha team-mate and 2021 MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo, who entered the premier class with only modest feeder category results.

"[A super licence] might be a good thing, to step up to MotoGP you should have at least some kind of results or some kind of pedigree. That's for sure a good thought and a good point of view that I agree with. Why not?

"But also sometimes, some riders that number-wise don't have a good pedigree or are not on top, can reach MotoGP and do well. We have to look at Fabio for example. He wasn't doing mint when he was in Moto3 and Moto2, and then he steps up to MotoGP and did very well.”

“Scares me he will race with us in MotoGP…”

Though there is sympathy towards Binder’s mistake given the furore around his MotoGP signing, with some suggesting he was trying too hard to prove himself under pressure, the criticism from the top has been stinging nonetheless.

One of the more vocal reactions came from Avintia Ducati’s Enea Bastianini, who - having called on two-race banned Deniz Oncu to be thrown out of the Moto3 championship for causing a high-speed crash at COTA - says he is ‘scared’ Binder will share the track with him in 2022.

“I think it was a really stupid mistake, especially if the rider wanted to overtake is playing for the World Championship. So, it was truly a scene not worthy of MotoGP. What scares me is that next year he will race with us.”