Motorcycle Racing

MotoGP rookies have it “tougher” now in their debut year

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Binder was a highly rated rookie when he stepped up to MotoGP in 2020 with the factory KTM team, having won the Moto3 crown in 2016 and runner-up in Moto2 in 2019.

The South African showed podium pace in his first race at Jerez in 2020 and would score a historic maiden win for KTM just three rounds into his MotoGP career at Brno.

But he considers that things were easier for him as a rookie than they are now for the new crop stepping up.

“I remember stepping into MotoGP and struggling at the first test,” he said.

“And then I got to the first race and thought ‘I’m super-fast’. And I ended up crashing a lot.

“But I would remember just rolling, always feeling like I could outbrake people, do funny things, and then you realise that they are saving tyres or something.

“You kind of catch these surprises along the way. But I think it’s always exciting at the beginning, you’re racing against the guys you looked up to.

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: KTM Images

“And I loved it, it was so cool. Of course, now, I think it’s tougher than when I joined that’s for sure. But it’s super cool and it’s an adventure for sure.”

These comments came as Binder heaped praise on KTM rookie stablemate Acosta, who scored a first MotoGP podium in just his second grand prix in Portugal a week ago.

Acosta is already considered a potential generational talent, with Binder noting that what the 19-year-old Spaniard is doing on the RC16 is “really special”.

“Bud, I’ll tell you, when he passed me he was rolling,” Binder added.

“He’s really special. When you watch him ride you can see how good he is.

“The way he can control the bike and carries a lot of corner speed and picks it up nicely. He’s a real class act, so hats off to him. He really deserves a podium.”

While the emergence of a hotshot rookie can bruise the egos of established riders, Binder sees working with Acosta as a good opportunity for himself and for the KTM project.

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Photo by: Rob Gray / Polarity Photo

“I think one of my biggest blessings as a rider is I’ve always had team-mates who have really pushed me,” he said.

“I’ve always had good team-mates and you can look at it as a blessing or a curse.

“But it’s always been really good for me. So, I think together we can really keep pushing and try to get this whole project going forward.”

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