Big night for the Binders as Brad and Darryn shine in Qatar MotoGP

Brad Binder kicks off his third season in MotoGP with a fine podium for KTM, while Darryn Binder falls just short of a point on his debut in Qatar

Brad Binder, Darryn Binder

It was a big night for the Binders as brothers Brad and Darryn enjoyed eye-catching starts to the 2022 MotoGP World Championship in the Qatar MotoGP.

Two riders coming into the campaign with very different targets, though their results - Brad in second and Darryn in 16th - appeared poles apart on paper, they still marked significant milestones for both.

After finishing a stealthy sixth in the overall standings last year in a campaign built on consistency (he finished all but one race) Brad Binder might have been regarded as one of the dark horses for success coming to Qatar, but indifferent form in pre-season testing for KTM appeared to put the brakes on that expectation.

Matters weren’t helped when Binder couldn’t squeeze into Q2 via FP3, but a rapid lap in Q1 around Lusail International Circuit hauled him into the pole-deciding session. Despite having just a single lap to make his mark, his seventh on the grid was bettered only once in qualifying last year.

When a rapid getaway saw Binder up to third by the end of the first lap, he remained in podium contention throughout. 

Passing Pol Espargaro for second after his error with five laps remaining, Binder would cross the line just 0.3s off the win in a breakthrough result for KTM around a circuit it has never achieved a top six result before.

“Incredible. If you told me we’d be second in Qatar after the first test I wouldn’t have believed you. Today was a great day, it was a great weekend. I knew we had a good level but I had so much confidence and belief in the bike from beginning to end. We made such a huge step. For us to be on the podium in Qatar is insane. Now we’re looking for more!”

Darryn Binder quietens cynics with fine show on MotoGP debut

Younger brother Darryn, meanwhile, went some way to silencing some doubters with a gritty performance in his first race since making the controversial and highly scrutinised step from Moto3.

Around a circuit where the Yamaha package struggled all round, Binder made up for the crash in Q1 that left him back of the pack to run up ahead of RNF Racing team-mate Andrea Dovizioso inside the top twenty on a newer-spec M1 for several laps.

Eventually engaging in a fight for top rookie honours against highly-touted Moto2 alumni Remy Gardner, Raul Fernandez and Fabio di Giannantonio, Binder would be pipped on the line by the former to leave him just off the points in 16th.

“We finished off the first race in Qatar and overall I’m quite happy," said Binder, whose fastest race lap was only 0.5s slower than that of Quartararo.

"It’s been a difficult weekend with loads of learning curve, there’s not a lot of time in a race weekend to get everything together. Yesterday in the Qualifying I messed up, so I just wanted to take it step by step and learn as much as I could. 

“I got off to quite an ok start, I was pretty fast in the beginning, so I was making some passes and I was pushing too much for a couple of laps. By lap five I needed to take a step back and find my feet because I had a long race ahead of me. 

“I had a nice battle with Remy (Gardner), I really enjoyed fighting with the rookies, I learned so much throughout the race and by the end, I really wanted to fight for 15th, for the point, but I just missed out. 

“Overall, at least I finished the race, I got 22 laps under my belt now, I know what to expect for next weekend and try again.“