Binder: Final time doesn’t do my pace justice

In November, KTM’s Moto2 machine suffered extensive issues, but thanks to an off-season work of diligent work Brad Binder feels “quite fast and … really, really, really consistent.”
Binder: Final time doesn’t do my pace justice

Brad Binder cut a lot more relaxed figure in the Jerez paddock after this week’s testing in Andalusia confirmed considerable improvements from KTM, and the South African’s status as one of the preseason favourites for the 2019 Moto2 title.

Binder joked he “wanted to hang” himself after November’s first official test in which every Moto2 team bar one was present. Then, all of KTM’s riders experienced severe front-end chatter issues, with the 23-year old outside the top ten and less than impressed.

But three months on and there are signs of a rapid turnaround. KTM booked the Jerez circuit for a private test on Monday and Tuesday of this week to allow Binder to test a new frame extensively.



Some observers said the ex-Moto3 world champion had as many as three bikes in his garage to evaluate. And while he wasn’t as pleased with his speed on Wednesday – the first official day of Moto2 testing – Binder described his pace as “really, really, really consistent.”

“[Tuesday] I was bit better than [Wednesday], to be honest,” he said. “It was a bit more tricky. But things were good, I was quite fast, and I'm really, really, really consistent, which is the main thing. The lap time doesn't really do my pace justice, I feel like.

“But I feel good. The important thing is that I'm working well with the team, the team are trying a lot of different things. Obviously not all of them are better, but the important thing is we've got a whole list to get through, and by the end of a few days, once we've put the best of everything we've found together, then we will see where we stand.”

On the changes made to KTM’s Moto2 machine, Binder went on, “I'm way more pleased than last time we were here. Last time I was here I wanted to hang myself! I'd say that the bike is much better now, I feel much better with the bike, we've found a good direction working with the bike. So things are going well.

“[Chatter] was a big issue at the end of last year, but actually it's much better now. We've found a setting that will help a lot, there's a few different things we've found that help to resolve it a little bit, but in general I feel pretty good. The bike's going well, so let's see where we are at the end of the year.

“The guys have been working hard, that's for sure. In the off-season they found a few new things. We have two chassis: we have last year's one and one new one, but I did the same lap time on both. They both have their positives and negatives, but I think going forward, they can maybe do something in the middle, who knows?”

A feature of KTM’s chassis in 2018, when the class was still running standard Honda CBR600cc engines, was its inability to extract the most from a new tyre. From Binder’s comments, this issue has yet to be resolved, despite the engine switch.

“It almost seemed like in the second practice, because I could do the same lap time with a tyre that was completely dead, and a new one didn't make a big difference,” he said. “But in general, that's never really a bad thing, as long as you can be close enough, so...”

Being mid-February, Binder was reluctant to turn his attention to a championship challenge. To journalists, he claimed he hadn’t pinpointing any rival in particular, even if his name was mentioned by other Kalex-mounted riders.

“I mean, I just take things as they come to be honest,” he said. “It doesn't help worrying about anything, or even put a perception of something in your mind, because things change in a heartbeat.

“So to me, you've just got to go out and do your best, every single day, every single week. And if you can do that, at the end of the year, things will be the way you want them to be.”

On his altered preparation for the 2019 season, Binder added, “The only thing I did different was I rode a lot more. I did a lot more riding on the normal bike, and I did trials biking, supermoto, and lots of motocross.

“I've been trying to ride as much as possible, basically, and I feel like I'm taking advantage of that.”