The first ever Indian Grand Prix will sit easily in the memory for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and their growing legion of fans in the country as Brad Binder helped put on a gripping and speed-fueled show at the Buddh International Circuit. The South African finished 4th while Jack Miller took points in 14th through a hot affair outside of New Delhi.
MotoGP scorched around the undulating 5km layout south east of the city and in high temperatures as more fans gathered in the principal grandstand as well as the wide public areas. There was no danger of a repeat of the rainstorm that delayed the Saturday Sprint and gave the Grand Prix teams experience of Buddh in damp conditions but the climate was intense and humid for the race that was reduced to 21 laps.
The red light went out at 15.30 local time and Binder and Miller were aiming to replicate their excellent starts from Saturday that saw both rocket from 14th and 16th on the grid to the edge of the top five. On this occasion it was Binder who leapt away through the extremely difficult and tight Turn 1. The South African suffered some contact but regrouped to charge forward. Binder diced with Joan Mir in the last two laps to make sure of his second top-four result of the weekend. Miller ran wide into Turn 1 and then again the second lap trying to recoup ground. He then focused on making gains and entered the points-scoring positions to take 14th.
After misfortune in Catalunya and Misano, Binder was able to replenish his world championship points tally and remains 4th in the standings. Miller holds 9th while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing are ranked 4th in the Teams list. The company is placed 2nd among the Constructors. More eastern travel occurs immediately. The boxed-up paddock will jet across to the Twin Ring Motegi for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan and round fourteen of the series next weekend.
Brad Binder, 4th: “I gave absolutely everything I had today. It wasn’t quite the result we were hoping for but coming back from 12th to 4th was quite decent. Two 4th places mean it has been a solid Indian GP for us. We worked as hard as we could to maximize what we had for today. The bike felt good but I think we were just struggling a bit more than we anticipated to get out of the slower corners. It is clear what we need to improve for the future and hopefully for Japan.”
Jack Miller, 14th: “Not too high, not too low this weekend. I struggled today. I didn’t have the grip I needed from the get-go both front and rear. I could carry any corner speed at all. I had a bit of contact into Turn 1 as well, which wasn’t ideal and then tried to make up too many positions in one go on the second lap. It was uphill battle from there and our pace wasn’t anything like Saturday. It is a bit of a head-scratcher. Fingers-crossed we can work on what we found out this weekend and what we tried at the Misano test for Motegi.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “Another solid race for Brad. He had a good start but was hit in the first turn and lost a few positions. His pace was enough to fight for the top five. We couldn’t make the best of the technical package here so to come away with two 4th places means we have to be happy. Of course, we should be more in front but the result today was OK. Being on, or as close to, the podium is our seasonal target and while you can always want better now-and-then we have to be happy with a 4th. Unfortunately for Jack he could not repeat that good race from Saturday. He was complaining about grip and also had some mistakes under braking. We have a few days to check the data from today and to try to be faster. We go to Japan with confidence after the performances last year and some references.”
Results MotoGP IndianOil Grand Prix of India
1. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati 36:59.157
2. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +8.649
3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +8.855
4. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +12.643
14. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +31.324
World championship standings MotoGP
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati, 292 points
2. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati 279
3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati, 248
4. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 192
9. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 109
KTM GP Academy
Moto3 riders were the first to lay down rubber at the Buddh International Circuit on Friday as well as the first to explore the limits of grip in wet conditions after the sustained shower on Saturday. The challenge meant the Qualifying run was tricky to judge. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Deniz Öncü had a fall and then failed to spot a black flag in Practice 3; he was obliged to start from the last row of the grid and also had to negotiate a Long Lap penalty.
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Daniel Holgado had been leading the world championship from round one with his KTM RC4 and produced an inspired performance to rise from 18th on the grid to 4th to defend his P1 status. Dani’s top four run represented his best result from the last three rounds (including India) and ensures he stays at the peak of the pile in the standings by a point. Of the two rookies Jose Rueda made it to the line in 10th while Filippo Farioli made a career PB in 11th. Öncü squeezed into the top fifteen, and therefore acquired 2 points, with 14th. KTM still top the Constructors standings as Red Bull KTM Ajo remain 9 points clear as leaders of the Teams contest.
Pedro Acosta continues to be one of the ‘reference’ riders in Moto2. The Red Bull KTM Ajo man and current world championship leader missed Pole Position by the slenderest of margins, just 0.023 of a second, but was flexible and fast throughout the sessions. He lunged into the 17-lap dispute with intent but the race had to be restarted due to a first corner tangle. Acosta reset and blasted away at the second time and built an unassailable lead of two seconds by the fourth lap, then cruised to win #6 and the ninth of his career, increasing his lead from 34 points to 39.
Pedro Acosta: “I think the hardest race for all of us [this season]. It was super-hot and that also affected the bike a lot. I felt like my feet were on fire! Anyway, one more in the pocket and back-to-back wins. An amazing job by the team to work on the bike and have it ready for this new track. Thank you.”
Albert Arenas attempted to ride only two weeks after sustaining a left shoulder injury. The Spaniard set-off from the rear of the grid and managed two points for 14th. Red Bull KTM Ajo have a 26-point margin at the top of the Teams’ standings.
Results Moto3 IndianOil Grand Prix of India
1. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda 31:58.245
2. Kaito Toba (JPN) Honda +5.477
3. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna +5.784
4. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +8.117
10. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +16.106
11. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +16.323
14. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +22.933
World championship standings Moto3
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 174 points
2. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda 174
3. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna, 173
5. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 146
8. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 94
24. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 7
Results Moto2 IndianOil Grand Prix of India
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 22:29.844
2. Tony Arbolino (ITA) +3.543
3. Joe Roberts (USA) +6.506
14. Albert Arenas (ESP) +20.917
World championship standings Moto2
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 236 points
2. Tony Arbolino (ITA), 197
3. Jake Dixon (GBR), 146
14. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 61