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Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had an incredible year in 2016, breaking records and taking his first world title – doing so at MotorLand Aragon; an incredible four races before the end of the season. The South African sat down with motogp.com to look back at his Championship win - and towards the future as he moves up to Moto2™.
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Binder: "It's a bit sad that 2016 is almost over"
Brad Binder: “When I think back it’s been insane, and it’s almost a bit sad that it’s almost over. It was a year where I really worked hard in off-season, and you know, I thought, ‘OK, so now it’s my chance to really try to do something this year’. It all started so well; from the first test it was all great. I really understood the bike I had because it was pretty much the same I finished with last year.”
With a good start to the year, things really hit another gear a few races in – as Binder started from the back in Jerez and went on to win.
BB41: “I think the main turning point of the year was definitely Jerez. In Jerez we had to start from last position and we managed it during the race. It was almost the point of the year when I said: ‘OK, now I can actually do this, we stand a good chance’. And you know, after that, it was pretty much just try to finish on the podium every weekend. Of course you need to have luck you know, but one thing I felt is, it’s like my team and I did really well this year, and we stayed out of trouble.”
Staying out of trouble, along with some incredible wins and podiums, saw Binder arriving at the Aragon GP with his first shot at the title - and his first bigger understanding of the expectation and pressure.
BB41: “The biggest thing that was strange for me this year was going to Aragon, because for me, I was enjoying the week as normal, I wasn’t stressed, I had another four chances to try to win the world title if it had not happened in Aragon. I arrived at the track and then I just saw that there were so many media and so many people from the press asking questions and it made me feel very nervous.”
Nevertheless, the South African went out to attack once again – and almost needed a reminder of what he’d achieved.
BB41: “My goal for the race was to win, obviously, and when I came across the line I was like: ‘Damn, I just came second’. Then I looked to the left and I saw my team, all the KTM guys hanging over the wall screaming and then I remembered that we just won the World Title! That was awesome, you know, it was a really, really special feeling.”
With another four races then left in the year for Binder to race without pressure, the South African won his final race in the class before the next step up: Moto2™.
BB41: “It’s the best situation I could ever think of, I mean, everybody wants to go into the best teams and this year I’ve been in the best Moto3™ team. Next year I will step up into Moto2™ and I will go straight to the best team there. I couldn’t ask for anything better that’s for sure, I’m so excited. For the last few weeks I’ve been counting down the days until I get to ride in Moto2™ for the first time.”
Binder did that recently in Jerez – along with some other graduates from Moto3™ - as 2017 appears on the horizon and the next target comes into focus: the intermediate crown.