KTM had a difficult start to the season in Qatar, a track that does not play on the strength of the Austrian machine, in difficulty in the curves of the Losail circuit. Only the drivers of the official team saw the finish in the points, with Miguel Oliveira, who remained on a success in Portimão at the conclusion of the 2020 season, 13th ahead of Brad Binder. The latter did not hide a certain disillusionment at the arrival of a race clearly below his expectations.
“Unfortunately that’s part of the job”, explained Binder after the arrival of the GP of Qatar. “I don’t like life when I’m in this position, neither is the team having fun being in the background. We’re in the same boat and the only thing to do is try to get out of this. hole. Better to do it with a smile than with hate, so we keep believing it. “
Binder, however, showed his hope for a rebound at the Doha GP, which starts this Friday on the same circuit: “I think we need the second weekend. It is not good to leave a circuit feeling badly. Normally, the second week, we do better, and if there is a problem, there are ways to correct it, and we know exactly what to do. You have to dig and try everything. If that means changing settings at each session, you have to try. I know that a little thing can make a big difference. If we can improve the turning a little, it will bring progress. “
During his meeting with the media on Thursday, Brad Binder confirmed his hope to see KTM raise the bar for this second round in Qatar: “We have a good program for the weekend, we have a lot of things to test, playing with the settings and the balance. I think we are doing the job and that the time has come for it to bear fruit. . “
The 2020 Czech Republic Grand Prix winner also gave more details about KTM’s struggles at the Losail circuit. The machine lacks ease entering and exiting a curve on this track, which costs the pilot precious time: “The main problem is that we lack a bit of natural turning. We need too many meters and time for the bike to go in the right direction. We spend a lot of time totally on the angle and we can’t get the bike to steer early enough for the straight. “
“You lose a bit of speed on the corners, not being able to take a tight enough trajectory, and the straight line is shortened, because you don’t put the bike back on the right angle to use the tire and all the power soon enough. . We’re working on this right now. The guys have a lot of settings for us to test, I’m confident we’ll make some progress. “
KTM “took a hit” with the tires
Brad Binder said to himself “quite impressed” by the endurance of the rear tire but like Miguel Oliveira, he encountered great difficulties with the front rubber. At the Qatari GP, Binder felt his tire deteriorate sharply shortly after the halfway mark, and he tumbled from 11th to 14th position. The South African felt compelled to ride with two soft tires, the choice made by the entire grid, the medium posing a problem for many riders and the hard being unsuited to the coolness of the night.
“It’s frustrating, for sure, because for us the soft front tire was unfortunately destroyed nine laps from the finish. I wondered how I was going to finish the race, which is difficult. I don’t know if you remember it, but I fell four times during the tests [organisés deux semaines avant la course]. With every fall, except the first, I was on medium, which just doesn’t work. It seems that the hard front tire works better than the medium for everyone. But hard is not really an option for the temperature we have at night. “
“We have to use the soft, which is really not ideal for us. I did not realize the problems with the front until halfway through the race. The guys told me that it would be hard to do the distance but I hadn’t noticed it in the practice sessions. It’s a bit disappointing, because you can try anything, if the front tire does not hold the distance and you don’t really have to ‘other option, what can be done? “
Binder comes to hope that Michelin will evolve this tire during the season: “Of course I have the impression that we took a hit here in Qatar: if we can’t finish a race with the soft, that the medium does not work and that it is not hot enough for the tough, what to do? It’s a bit difficult for all of us. Of course, we’re not the only brand struggling with this. Hope we have a better option in the future. “
Despite this difficult start to the season and far from the level displayed by KTM in 2020, Brad Binder is however convinced that good days await him, with circuits more favorable to the RC16 when MotoGP returns to Europe. “I really think it’s just this track that is very difficult for us. I think on the others we were very successful last season, even with a podium chance. It is not due to a lack of We work as much, we push as much, even more, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be working. But better days are coming and I think we suffered during the tests so let’s continue the efforts. “
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