Brad Binder: Cheating death and creating MotoGP history

The South African racer was right behind Johann Zarco’s Ducati when it collided with Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha when the racers ran out of gas. Zarco and Morbidelli are sent flying while their bicycles continue, becoming potentially lethal projectiles.

“Honestly, I don’t even want to think about it,” he admitted. “You know, bicycles can still be going at more than 200 km/h and a 185 kg bike flying at almost 200 km/h, if it hits someone, I think all We both know how that could end.”

Notably, both Zarco and Morbidelli were able to walk away from the incident, although the Ducati racer recounted L’Equipe that he’s going to have surgery for a wrist fracture this weekend.

Binder says the risks of racing are always present.

“It’s a well-known danger, which we really just try to keep in our minds and not think about. Unfortunately, the only way to make this work is to approach everything. That way. If you’re worried about the risk and what could happen, I don’t think you can do this job for a living.”

Maverick Vinales narrowly.

Roller Coaster Week

Binder finished fourth after the last red-flagged race restarted, an impressive feat from 17th on the grid. It limits the end of a rollercoaster week for the man born in Potchefstroom, in South Africa’s North West province.

Just seven days earlier, Binder had become the first South African to win a top class race, at the Czech Republic GP in Brno, entering only his third MotoGP.

The win is also KTM’s first MotoGP win, and Binder is the first rookie to win the race since Marc Marquez’s first win at the 2013 Americas GP.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” he said. “I don’t think we would expect that so soon, especially just in my third Grand Prix. Honestly, it’s a dream come true, one that you work towards. to achieve his true career as a motocross racer.”

Brad Binder says he doesn't like to think about how much damage a collision could cause.

Rugby and cricket

Binder and his family moved to Krugersdorp, just outside Johannesburg, when he was 10 years old. He admits that motorsport is not something commonly associated with South Africa.

“Certainly, when you think of sports and South Africa, you think of rugby and cricket or things like that,” he said.

“When I was young and I started racing in South Africa, it was a lot busier, a lot of racing going on there and a lot of supporters, but things were off a bit, but it’s slowly coming back. .”

The rookie’s success has been warmly received at home.

“It was really great, because the news really blew up at home,” he said. “I have to say, South Africans have always been great at supporting anyone in sports, and especially their own, so it’s great to see all the support I’ve had.”

Binder says he enjoys receiving support from his native South Africa.


Covid-19 presented an additional challenge for Binder and his younger brother Darryn, who compete in the Moto3 division.

Binder explains: “It’s really difficult right now with the South African border closed.

“It’s almost impossible for us to go home. After this race weekend we have two weeks off and it would be nice to be able to go home and see friends and family for a week and come back. But that’s unfortunate. , things are like that at the moment, we’ll just stay here.”

He admits to being a bit homesick.

“South Africa in general is a wonderful place, for sure. The main thing about South Africa, I really don’t know how to explain it, it’s just home, you know? It’s where I come from and I know it. exactly how do it all.

“It’s been great to go back and go to the places where I grew up and see all of your friends and your stuff again, things that I’ve been doing all my life. All of that. I hope things work out. back to normal soon.”

However, life on the road was nothing new for the Binder brothers.

“We both spend most of our time in Europe and have been doing this together since 2014,” he said.

The older Binder has been racing in Europe since 2011, winning the Moto3 title in 2016 and finishing second behind Alex Marquez in last season’s Moto2 championship.

When not competing, he is often found honing his skills in Spain.

“The good thing about Spain is that there are so many different races and it’s really good for training,” he added.

“The weather is also good. Spain is always a place I try to return to if I can’t go home.”

Johann Zarco examines Franco Morbidelli after the collision.

Another beast

Despite his nine years of racing experience, Binder admits stepping onto MotoGP is tough.

“A MotoGP bike is a completely different monster than a Moto2 bike, you have more than twice the horsepower and the bike is actually even lighter, so it’s hard to get around. from the very beginning. Every time I rode on, I felt more and more comfortable,” he said.

This year’s KTM looks to be a formidable package and a serious challenge for the other factory teams. The arrival of Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez’s former teammate at Honda, as a test driver is said to have turned the team into a rival.

“I actually had a ride on the 2019 bike late last year,” says Binder. “When I got on the 2020 bike in Malaysia, you can feel it’s a huge step forward, so much better and so much easier to ride. KTM has been doing a great job, Dani has also worked great. effective.”

Worryingly, for the rest of the school, Binder sees that upward trajectory continuing.

“It’s been amazing to see these huge strides forward, and overall, I think there’s more to it,” he added.

Scary moment when the bikes splash across the track.

For now, Binder in exile is focusing on building on his early success in these weirdest MotoGP seasons.

A visit to his hometown would certainly be welcome, but he admits he still keeps a little taste of South Africa with him.

“I try to keep myself a bit of biltong – but it’s not always easy to find!” | Brad Binder: Cheating death and creating MotoGP history


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