Brad Binder doubled-up with podium finishes at a hot Chang International Circuit and took part in a magnificent Sunday race that saw the 2023 Thai Grand Prix deliver the fourth closest podium finish in the history of the sport. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider fought for the lead and finished in 3rd by the slimmest of margins.
After the upheaval for the MotoGP class in Australia the previous weekend (the Saturday Sprint replaced by the full distance race due to the inclement weather forecast and cancellation of the Sunday agenda at Phillip Island), the Chang International Circuit provided a return to normality. Even though Red Bull KTM Factory Racing were able to watch Binder notch a sixth podium of the season in the Saturday Sprint and absorb critical tire data in race conditions for the Sunday 26-lapper, the insufferable heat meant a demanding and difficult scenario, similar to what the teams and riders had encountered in India and Indonesia in recent events.
As on Saturday, Binder and Miller launched from 5th and 15th slots on the grid but with full knowledge that tire preservation would be key to race pace throughout the 26-lap chase. Both RC16s started well and it was Binder who hovered with the leaders in the opening stages. The South African moved up from 5th to 2nd and then closed a small gap to the back of Jorge Martin. When Francesco Bagnaia joined the pair, a three-way tussle for the win took place. Binder grabbed the lead briefly and then smothered the rear wheel of Martin all the way through the final lap. He almost slid out on Turn 4 and the incident took the #33 marginally onto the green track limits. Although Brad crossed the line just 0.11 of a second behind Martin he was demoted to 3rd spot. The trophy still represented the ninth of his career in the premier class – all with the KTM RC16 – and the fourth of the season. Miller had a harder time trying to manage optimum traction and drive grip. The Australian was able to make the flag in 16th.
Binder continues to occupy 4th in the world championship standings and needs 61 points to be able to displace Marco Bezzecchi for the top three and with only a maximum of 75 left to go this season. Miller is 10th as the Aussie nears the end of his first term in MotoGP orange. The team are currently ranked 4th and KTM are the second-best manufacturer.
After a well-earned break, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will join their peers at the Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysian Grand Prix from November 9th-12th.
Brad Binder, 3rd: “I tried my best today and left nothing on the table. I wanted to keep as much rubber as I could while I was behind Jorge. I saw my opportunity and tried to go but a lap later that was it for my rear tire. We did what we could. My team did a terrific job and I’m sure the win is coming.”
Jack Miller, 16th: “A long race and I gave it everything I could. I’ve been struggling all weekend to get out of Turn 1 and Turn 3. I didn’t make any mistakes really…I was just missing the pace and lacking drive. I lost too much time. We need to analyze and understand why we cannot get this tire casing to work. I’m disappointed by we’ll learn from this. It’s a good time to be in MotoGP right now but also a really hard time!”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “An amazing race, and an amazing race for the win by Brad with a strong result. Unluckily he touched the green zone on the last lap so he had to drop one position but he did so well to push all the way inside the top three. We really enjoyed it. We’re already looking forward to the next race with a lot of confidence. A different story with Jack as we just couldn’t give him the setting he needed with the special tire allocation here. For sure there is still work to do.”
Results MotoGP Grand Prix of Thailand
1. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati 39:40.045
2. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +0.253
3. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.114
16. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +17.640
World championship standings MotoGP
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati, 389 points
2. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati 376
3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati, 310
4. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 249
10. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 144
KTM GP Academy
Moto3 delivered another wonderfully close and unpredictable bout of entertainment as 12 riders chased the three podium trophies through a frantic 19-laps of position-swapping and fairing-rubbing fare. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Deniz Öncü powered away from his third Pole Position of the year and with the confidence of having broken the lap record in practice. The Turk was an acive part of the melee and ended up 0.5 from the win and with 5th place!
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Daniel Holgado was one of the quickest riders on track and had to fight his way back through after a near-miss on the second lap. The Spaniard had to take emergency avoiding action to miss the tumbling Ayumu Sasaki and David Muñoz while wedged in the pack and lost a lot of positions. He rallied back to 6th. Jose Rueda was 16th and Filippo Farioli 19th.
The Moto3 world championship is likely to go right down to the wire at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain and for a riveting finale. Holgado is 4th while Öncü still has a mathematical chance of the title before he moves into Moto2 for 2024.
The Moto2 world championship could have been decided in Thailand. Red Bull KTM Ajo needed main title rival Tony Arbolino to finish outside of the top ten if Pedro Acosta won his eighth Grand Prix of the campaign. Starting from 2nd position on the grid, Pedro ran a strong but lonely race in 2nd position to log his thirteenth podium finish of the season. Arbolino made it to the flag in 4th to delay the title celebrations for Red Bull KTM ajo and the third year in a row with the gold number plate (with a third different rider). Acosta has a 63-point cushion with 75 left to grab. Albert Arenas’ race finish of 7th was the Spaniard’s seventh top ten classification of the year and helped the team to a 53-point lead in their respective standings.
Pedro Acosta: “Today we had to race with the head and not with the heart but we didn’t have any more speed for the win anyway! More important points for the championship and the team has been working so well in this difficult part of the season. We are in the battle and ready for Malaysia.”
Acosta needs only to finish in the top four at Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysian Grand Prix in two weeks to complete his title destiny.
Results Moto3 Grand Prix of Thailand
1. David Alonso (COL) GASGAS 32:45.307
2. Taiyo Furusato (JPN) Honda +0.266
3. Collin Veijer (NED) Husqvarna +0.359
5. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.557
6. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.133
16. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +6.813
19. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +15.922
World championship standings Moto3
1. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda 230 points
2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna, 213
3. David Alonso (COL) GASGAS, 205
4. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 205
5. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 191
8. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 111
25. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 7
Results Moto2 Grand Prix of Thailand
1. Fermin Aldeguer (ESP) 35:20.880
2. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +3.481
3. Somkiat Chantra (THA) +9.794
7. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +15.030
World championship standings Moto2
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 300.5 points
2. Tony Arbolino (ITA), 237.5
3. Jake Dixon (GBR), 172
15. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 72