What's it like to ride a MotoGP™ bike with only one wing?

After one of his wings came off in the early stages, KTM's Brad Binder somehow battled through to finish eighth in Le Mans

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Brad Binder arguably put in the performance of the French Grand Prix on Sunday as he battled through from 18th on the grid to finish eighth. Picking up ten places is impressive enough as it is, but it becomes a special performance when you realise he had to do that with only one wing after the wing on the left-hand side of his RC16 was ripped off following contact with Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) in the opening few laps.

So what exactly is it like to man-handle a MotoGP™ machine around Le Mans with only one wing? The South African explained exactly what he had to endure for 23 laps: I had a really good start for the first time in a while, so it was nice to get past quite a few guys early on. Had a really good opening 2 or 3 laps. Unfortunately, I rode into Zarco on lap 4, and I ended up flicking my wing off, so it made the rest of my race extremely difficult.

"So really happy to have finished up in eighth, obviously there were a lot of crashes in front of us, but regardless, all things considered, we can leave here happy, because it was really really physical and hard to ride with one wing. It's pretty hectic. I had quite a bit of arm pump, and then when my arms were dead, I was using my legs, and when my legs were dead, I was just waiting for the laps to finish to be honest.

"The big problem is the thing shakes a lot. Because it's pulling to one side all the time, so any time you need to put some input into the steering, it just starts to wobble, so you have to hold on a lot tighter and it takes away your opportunity to rest on the straights, because you need to always compensate. It was a long race, like that. It was hard."

Things have quickly gone downhill for the Austrian factory in recent weeks following a stellar start to 2022. Binder finished second in Qatar before teammate Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) clinched victory in Indonesia to see KTM lead the Teams' and Constructors' titles for the first time in MotoGP™ history. However, since then, they've finished within ten seconds of a race winner just once at the Argentian Grand Prix.

Binder is hopeful that just like in 2021 when a new chassis catapulted Oliveira onto the podium and Binder into the top five, KTM can reinvigorate their campaign at the Italian Grand Prix: "Mugello was really good for us last year, so I'm really hoping that that can hopefully kickstart our season a little bit. Because we started off really well, and we've had a big slump. So it's time to climb out of this hole and figure things out."

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