Will Moto3 to MotoGP be too much of a quantum leap for Darryn Binder to bridge?

Darryn Binder is a favourite to land  the 'Petronas SRT' Yamaha seat for the 2022 MotoGP season... but can he, or anyone, really make that leap from Moto3

Darryn Binder

Darryn Binder appears increasingly likely to land a spot on the 2022 MotoGP World Championship grid with the rebranded Yamaha satellite team, making him the first rider since Jack Miller to go straight from Moto3 to the premier class.

The South African - whose older brother Brad Binder races with KTM in MotoGP - has, admittedly, only emerged on Petronas SRT Yamaha’s radar due to a whittling list of riders willingt to join for the 2022 MotoGP season, giving it limited options amid upheaval impacted by Petronas’ impending exit as title backer.

As such, the new team will likely combine the experience of the all-but-confirmed Andrea Dovizioso, with youth in Binder, where Razlan Razali and Johan Stigefelt will looking to strike gold again as they did with Fabio Quartararo in 2019, who was plucked from relative obscurity to emerged as the sport’s newest superstar.

However, while Quartararo was a measured gamble backed up by some record-breaking results right at the start of his career, Razali is throwing the dice right off the table with Binder by comparison

Though it is unfair to refer to Binder as something of a last resort, it is a risky and unorthodox jump into a team that was as recently as 2020 winning six grands prix.

Indeed, there have been precious few reference points when it comes to riders skipping the intermediate Moto2 class in favour of 125/Moto3 straight onto MotoGP, much less one that has a race-winning but relatively modest results record in what has become a lengthy stint in the 250cc class.

Indeed, Binder wouldn’t necessarily be the obvious rider to be fast-tracked to the premier class having achieved only one win and six podiums, while he is a distant contender for this year’s title race. 

How big is the quantum leap from Moto3 to MotoGP?

Even so, he is surprisingly experienced for a rider in the novice classes, with this now being his seventh season on the first rung on the grand prix ladder, but one has to wonder whether he is a supple enough adapter to completely alter his riding style to accommodate a MotoGP bike after so long on the lightweight Moto3 chassis.

While there have been recent examples of a rider going to MotoGP after just one season in Moto2 - Joan Mir and Maverick Vinales the most successful examples - the Moto3 to MotoGP move has only applied to a single rider thus far: Jack Miller.

Not a bad example if you needed one, though even then he was a runner-up with several wins under his belt prior to Honda taking him under its wing, while his first MotoGP steed was a somewhat watered down CRT LCR prototype using a Fireblade-sourced 1000cc engine.

Against expectations Miller proved consistent and solid, developing the formidable and acrobatic riding style that has since made him a fan favourite, a factory Ducati rider and a three-time race winner.

In fact, Binder will do well to use him as a reference point as he develops his race craft without (hopefully) throwing it into the scenery too often.

The scale of his challenge is represented in the figures alone -  the Yamaha M1 is a ‘full fat’ MotoGP producing more than 250bhp, quite the change from his Moto3 bike where just the engine capacity is 250cc and a comparatively weezy, slipstream reliant 55bhp.

It remains to be seen how he adapts to the Yamaha as a chassis too. Once known as the most compliant bike on the MotoGP grid for rookies to get to grips with - as Quartararo has demonstrated - it remains to be seen whether the M1 is still a friendly companion having become a foe for Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi recently.

There is some evidence to support the notion that Binder wouldn’t necessarily need Moto2 to go quickly on a MotoGP bike.

At this stage in his development Binder will be tailoring his riding style and whie Moto3 with quick turning and diminutive brakes in comparison will certainly be a shock to the system on the MotoGP bike, the M1 is a blank canvas to the paintbrush of his riding style. 

After all, Mir, Quartararo and Vinales didn’t spend long in Moto2, unlike Alex Marquez, Xavier Simeon, Thomas Luthi and Tito Rabat, four riders that have struggled on bigger bikes partly because they spent so long in the intermediate class.

The Binders: Brothers in arms… and elbows

On the plus side he won’t have to look far for moral support - just up ahead or over his shoulder on the grid - in fact since Darryn would form a Binder duo with Brad, a double race winner already with KTM.

Quite the opposite of Darryn’s situation, Binder spent six seasons in Moto3, followed by three seasons in Moto2 - finishing runner-up in 2019 - under the watchful eye of KTM, who have since been rewarded with the South African’s impressive performances. 

While some might question nepotism in offering a chance to Binder (they will join the Marquez’ and Espargaro brother clans), it doesn’t hurt to at least have one rider on the grid in your first not using the elbows on you quite so forcefully.

At the time of writing no official word has been made on whether Binder has landed the ride, with Jake Dixon’s second outing at Aragon suggesting he could still threaten plans. That said, incoming title backers WithU are linked with Binder, so make of that what you will.

Time will tell, but if Binder makes a success of it, it could change the way teams look at the series for good...