SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - South Africa’s Brad Binder delivered a sensational home Austrian MotoGP win for his KTM team on Sunday after a late, crazy gamble to stick to slick tyres on a wet and slippery track worked in his favour.
As the rain came down and the top five peeled into the pits at Spielberg's Red Bull Ring to switch to bikes shod with wet tyres, sixth-placed Binder stayed out and hung on in the downpour for three wild laps.
“It was a tough race to the finish,” Binder said after his second MotoGP premier class win. “I took a big gamble by not changing bikes as the rain made it difficult to manoeuvre through the slippery tracks. With four laps to go, I could see the other racers come in, so I had to try to finish, which proved fruitful with the win”.
Binder described the earlier parts of the race as challenging: "I am so incredibly happy to have walked away with the win today, the beginning of the race was super hard for us.
“I unfortunately got the worst tyre since I have been here, so I was struggling a lot in all the braking and the throttle but when I saw the rain starting, I took my opportunity and I fought as hard as I could and closed in front of the front group which was great". Binder said the last lap was the hardest, as he pushed to the finish line to take victory:
"When I saw the guys pull up into the pit, I decided to take the gamble and try to push it out to the end. It was incredibly sketchy to try and get the bike home as the carbon brakes lose temperature which feels like you don’t have brakes anymore.
Braking power lost
“I lost my brakes with two laps to go, and it went cold which meant there was no grip at all, but super happy to come home with the win, especially here in Austria which is Red Bull and KTM’s home ground Grand Prix – it is the closest thing that I have to home ground Grand Prix, so hats off to the team," Binder said.
Binder was handed a three-second penalty for exceeding track limits on the last corner as he struggled to keep the sliding bike on the line but it was ultimately meaningless, with the gap big enough.
Bagnaia takes second spot
Behind Binder, Ducati's Italian factory rider Francesco Bagnaia, who had led for much of the race and was one of the frontrunners who pitted, roared back through the field to take second place but was 9.991 seconds behind.
Spanish rookie pole-sitter Jorge Martin, winner on the Pramac Ducati at the same track a weekend earlier, finished third in front of 86,000 spectators.
Yamaha's French rider Fabio Quartararo finished seventh but now leads his closest rivals Bagnaia and Suzuki's reigning world champion Joan Mir, fourth on Sunday, by 47 points.
IOL & Reuters