Binder: joining an elite list of MotoGP™ rookie superstars

The South African followed in the footsteps of Pedrosa, Lorenzo & Marquez to become the fourth rider to win a race in his debut MotoGP™ year

The orange bell hasn’t stopped sounding around the MotoGP™ paddock. Brad Binder’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) Czech GP win was historic in more ways than one, and it’s a victory we’re going to be talking about in years to come.

South African’s first premier class winner and KTM’s first premier class winner. But there’s more. Binder placed his name alongside three of the greatest riders we’ve ever seen swing a leg over a MotoGP™ machine after his Czech GP win. The Potchefstroom-born rider became the first premier class rookie to win since Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), while Binder joined the eight-time World Champion, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo as the only riders to win in their first season in MotoGP™.


The first of them to do so was now KTM test rider Pedrosa, who savoured the glory of a MotoGP™ top step for the first time at the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix. It was the fourth round of the Championship and the MotoGP ™ Legend made his mark in style. After warning his opponents about what he was capable of in the first round of the year, by finishing 2nd in Jerez, Pedrosa claimed his first pole position and went on to win his first premier class race. The Little Samurai finished ahead of his teammate and 2006 World Champion, the late great Nicky Hayden, with the podium completed by fellow American Colin Edwards.

Two years later it would be the turn of another Spanish superhero, a certain Mr Lorenzo. The future five-time World Champion showed his potential at the opening event of the year in Qatar, grabbing pole position and finishing P2 behind Casey Stoner. Three weeks later, he would return to the podium in Jerez behind Pedrosa himself and teammate Valentino Rossi, in a race that would go down in history for the iconic ‘forced handshake’ with Pedrosa, initiated by King Juan Carlos. Two weeks later, in Estoril, the tables were turned. After taking pole position, Lorenzo would win his first victory as a rookie by beating Pedrosa and Rossi. Portugal was now 'Lorenzo territory'. The triumph came the ‘Spartan’s’ third race, likewise to Binder.

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky

We’d have to five more years to see a rookie winning in his maiden year again. It was the start of the 2013 season, and – we didn’t know it yet – we were witnessing the dawn of the Marc Marquez era. After cementing a podium behind Lorenzo and Rossi in the opening meeting of the season in Qatar, Marquez would make history two weeks later in Austin. Converting pole position into victory, Marquez beat teammate Pedrosa and Lorenzo to become the youngest-ever premier class winner at 20 years and 63 days. The rest is history, as they say. Marquez was later crowned MotoGP™ World Champion at his first attempt, with Lorenzo the only man to beat the Spaniard to a title since.

With his Brno triumph, Binder follows in the footsteps of a Spanish trident that has set a large part of the standard for the past two decades in Grand Prix motorcycle racing. Will Binder repeat his feat on KTM’s home turf?

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