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Thanks to Brad Binder’s flawless display on Sunday at the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, Red Bull KTM Ajo celebrated their first Moto2™ victory of the season – and did so on home turf.
Birthday boy Binder launched from P2 on the grid and was able to take the holeshot into Turn 1, and from then on the South African controlled the race for almost the entirety, holding off late pressure from Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). It was a welcome victory for the Austrian factory in the intermediate class having endured a tougher than expected 2019, which made winning in front of the KTM faithful - on his birthday - that little sweeter for Binder.
In 10 mins: Austrian GP Moto2™ highlights
“Today has been an incredible day. I knew we had decent pace, I didn’t know if we could win or not but I knew we could give it a good try,” reflected Binder after the race. “To get the job done in front of all the fans, KTM and Red Bull people, it’s an insane feeling, I’ve never seen so much orange in my life. So yeah I’m super, super happy. I need to say a huge thanks to Red Bull, KTM and my team, they worked incredibly hard, we’ve tried so many different things this year and I feel like it was really good to finally give them a good result.”
KTM’s first Moto2™ win of the season came just after the Austrian outfit announced they would no longer be running KTM chassis’ in the intermediate class from 2020. The news came as a shock to Binder as Team Manager Aki Ajo sat him down to tell him the news just ahead of the race, but the 24-year-old thinks it will be a wise decision.
“Yeah Aki sat me down just before the race. Phwoar, for me it was an absolute shock because… I don’t know. I think it can be good. I think it can be good, this year has been incredibly difficult, I still feel like we’re missing something compared to the other guys but in general they can still be ok, like today.
Get Brad Binder's thoughts about heading to MotoGP™ in 2020
“I actually said to one of my friends before the race. I was like ‘jeez now they’ve gone and said that and if we win today I don’t know if that will be the best decision or if they might change their mind’. But no, all in all I think it’s for the best. The guys have done an unbelievable job with the amount of parts; swingarms, frames. It’s unbelievable how many things they’ve tried this year. And right now, it’s not the best, we still need to work quite a bit but we’ve got quite a good base so from here on we just need to carry on working and remain strong.”
During the summer break, it was confirmed that the 2016 Moto3™ World Champion would be making the step up to MotoGP™ with Red Bull KTM Tech 3. But for now, Binder’s attention remains firmly on having a strong end to the year in Moto2™. As he’s mentioned, KTM have tried plenty of new parts and different bikes this season, with the Austrian factory using a new bike at Brno. However, Binder switched back to the ‘old’ version for the Austrian GP and thinks he’ll stick with said version for the rest of the season.
“I think so, I’m not 100% sure,” said Binder, talking about what bike he will opt to use for the remaining eight races. “Tomorrow we have a test here and I think we will try the new bike again, and from then on we will see where we are. In general, I feel more comfortable with… it’s not really an old bike, we’ve had that many bikes this year, but the previous version.”
Next up for Binder and KTM is Silverstone. It’s a track he tasted victory at during his Moto3™ title-winning season in 2016, but can he repeat that feat in 2019?
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