Brad Binder takes eleventh in tricky #CatalanGP while Pol Espargaro crashes out
Brad Binder was the top finisher for Red Bull KTM at a cool and difficult Catalan Grand Prix where effective grip was at a premium. The South African classified 11th as MotoGP entered the second half of the 2020 campaign.
The coolest conditions yet for 2020 MotoGP graced the eighth round of the season in Catalunya and made the slick asphalt of the circuit a short distance north of Barcelona a complicated challenge. Teams and riders had to make snap judgements on tires in order to find rubber that would last the 24-lap race distance but also offer performance in the initial stages of the Grand Prix.
Three KTM RC16s filled spots on the top twelve of the grid with Pol Espargaro leading the third row in 7th place. Once the race started the Spaniard was fighting for positions just inside the top ten with Danilo Petrucci when he lost front-end traction into Turn 1 on lap 13. He crashed out of 7th. The same fate befell Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira. The Portuguese was 9th until he hit the ground six laps later at Turn 2.
Brad Binder had recovered well from a slow start to push-up from outside the top fifteen and reach as high as 9th. The rookie then ran out of rear grip in the last three laps and reached the finish line in 11th. Iker Lecuona grabbed 2 points for 14th place.
KTM’s highest ranked rider in the FIM World Championship standings is Oliveira who is 9th and only 18 points from the top five.
“Today was a bit different to what I had in mind. Coming into the race my pace seemed really good and I had a good feeling with the bike. In the race it just didn’t quite go to plan. I tried my best at the start but when we hit lap sixteen things became a bit more difficult with the rear tire. It was tough, for sure. Not a great result in the end but we’ll learn from this and use it for the future. We’ll stay focused, look ahead to the next race and try to make things right there.”
“For sure I’m disappointed. I paid for some frustration today because with the medium front tire I could not push so hard in the left corners. I was fighting a lot with Petrucci even though I felt faster than him. I entered the corner a bit too fast and lost the front. My fault entirely. I was trying too hard. I’m keen to get to Le Mans and remove the bad taste in the mouth from here. It was my home Grand Prix and this wasn’t what I expected.”