The first of the four final outings in the 2021 MotoGP championship took the series to the long and demanding Circuit of the Americas and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder defied the intense heat to finish 9th on the KTM RC16.
As well as a grid-full of rivals, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Tech3 KTM Factory Racing teams had to grapple with the long (5.5km), 20 corner and surprisingly rough COTA layout for 20 draining laps in hot and humid conditions.
Brad Binder roared away from 11th place on the start grid and enjoyed an intense fight with world champion Joan Mir for most of the distance. The 26-year-old just dropped away from the tussle for 6th in the final stages.
Teammate Miguel Oliveira embarked on a busy race trying to regain ground and positions from 18th after a complicated qualification process. The Portuguese applied himself to the task diligently and was rewarded with 11th; his highest classification of the last six rounds. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Iker Lecuona was two seconds away from Valentino Rossi and the chance to grab the last point in 15th while Danilo Petrucci ended a difficult weekend in the search for grip and speed with 18th.
MotoGP journeys back to Europe for the final trio of Grand Prix events in San Marino, Portugal and Spain. The series breaks for two weeks before reconvening at the Misano World Circuit on October 23rd and 24th for the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia-Romagna.
Brad Binder: “Today, going into the race, I felt that we hadn’t done a lot of quality laps this weekend. I didn’t have the best rhythm and I was missing a bit of speed but in the end I gave my best and the team did a fantastic job to give me the best available package for th race. We are nowhere near where we need to be - and where we want to be - but it was P9 today. There was not much more I could have done. We’ll keep working and try again in Misano.”
Miguel Oliveira: “As we expected it was a hard race and difficult to make a lot of positions. Anyway, we recovered some places. We scored points and we raced well. We are looking forward to Misano where we just need to understand how to qualify better and then fight for better positions in the race. I’m happier now that we have finished the race here and achieved something. Looking to the future this was an important step.”
Iker Lecuona: “It was a very difficult weekend in general. I don’t feel good with the bike in these track conditions, so I struggled a lot. On the first lap, some guys hit me two or three times in the first corners, so I was far back. Then I tried to recover but I used a lot of rear tyre so I didn’t have any grip anymore. In the last 10 laps I tried to recover the gap to Rossi and I made up almost three seconds, but then he improved a lot as well. It was very hard and finally we didn’t get any points in P16. But we gathered experience. We learned a lot during this weekend and I think now I have two weeks to recover and be fit for Misano two.”
Danilo Petrucci: “It was really a difficult race. I tried at the beginning to stay with the others, but we faced the same issues like all weekend long. It feels like I can’t really use the tyre properly and my bike doesn’t turn like I want it to. I lose a lot of energy in braking in order to try to stick with the rest but then also in the corners I was slower and in trying to be faster I risked crashing many times. It was very difficult. Anyway, we tried and we will try again in Misano.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “We knew it would be a tough one. COTA is still a track we have not raced at that much. Brad had a strong one and suffered with a bit of vibration from the bike and tires around seven laps from the end and that cost him the chance to fight in that group going for 6th position. We are happy with the performance but we all cannot be happy with a 9th. Miguel also made an improvement…but we wanted both riders in the top ten and we have to work harder to get them in there.”
Results MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas 2021
1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda 41:41.435
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +4.679
3. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +8.547
4. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki +11.098
5. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +11.752
9. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +15.832
11. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +23.055
16. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +30.989
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +42.239