KTM left a hot and challenging Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas with Brad Binder clutching 12th position and four world championship points as MotoGP completed the fourth and final ‘flyaway’ event of the 2022 campaign in the United States.
The Circuit of the Americas was the captivating stage for round four of 2022 MotoGP and after the series had clocked-up airmiles with trips to Qatar, Indonesia and Argentina since the season launched. A decent resurfacing effort of the 20-turn, 5.5km layout that features a wide range of varied corners and speed demands provided more grip and less bumps. Temperatures were pleasant without being oppressive, but a strong wind was another complication for the riders to handle for 20-laps on Sunday afternoon.
The KTM quartet searched in vain for usable traction and effective one-lap pace in practice and qualification but had to accept slots in the second half of the start grid. Binder was the furthest ahead with 17th place but still had to attack the field in the first laps to gain ground. The South African reached the top ten at one stage before classifying 12th and having recouped five spots. Teammate Miguel Oliveira finished just outside the points in 18th.
COTA was another ‘debut’ experience for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing pair Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez. The Moto2 World Champion rode to 20th and was five seconds behind Fernandez who chased Oliveira and took 19th.
Europe beckons and the first of another back-to-back double begins with the Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal at Portimao in two weeks time.
Brad Binder: “The race was going well from the beginning and we made the right choice with the tires because the soft option lasted until the end. I’m not happy at all to finish 12th because I got up into the battle for 9th and ended up tagging the back of a rider and falling back again. There were two laps to go and I couldn’t get back. It’s been a tough weekend but we managed to salvage some points. Let’s see what we can do at the next one.”
Miguel Oliveira: “As expected it was a hard race. I really hoped we’d finish with some points. We had good speed with the medium tire in FP4 so we thought that would be the tire for the race but it turned out to be the opposite of what we expected. After five laps it started spinning and was getting worse and worse. I couldn’t avoid being overtaken and we missed those points. We learned from this weekend and in terms of making changes. We now go to a track where we have been competitive in the past and where we know we can be competitive again. We will go there with zero negativity from this weekend and with full motivation.”
Raul Fernandez: “It was not the result I had hoped for today, but this race was dedicated to Hervé Poncharal, and Thomas Galloux from WP, as it was both their birthdays. The race was really difficult, especially if your regular pace is in 2’05 and you try to go down to 2'04, you destroy everything! Anyway, the team did a great job again this weekend and we will continue the learning process in Europe, where we are hoping to get better results.”
Remy Gardner: “It was not a great day. After 6 or 7 laps, I was physically exhausted, and I was not feeling comfortable on the bike. Towards the end, I managed to do a good lap, but I had to put my heart and soul to every corner and to do that during an entire race is not possible. We also had a big drop with the soft tyres, so maybe we did not pick the right option for the race, and I think that we are still missing a lot.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “A tough weekend. We tried to get the best from the race. Brad nearly finished 9th but had a moment with [Johann] Zarco with two laps to go and lost two positions because of this contact. We will analyze deeply why we had a hard time here this weekend and will be a bit more aggressive for the next Grand Prix. Overall, here I don’t think it is as bad and what we see in the results, today especially we found some good points and maybe we were a bit too conservative on the first day and stretched our problems. A learning experience and we will work better.”
Results MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
1. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Ducati 41:23.111
2. Alex Rins (ESP) Suzuki +2.058
3. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +2.312
4. Joan Mir (ESP), Suzuki +3.975
5. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +6.045
12. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +13.376
18. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +32.002
19. Raul Fernandez (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +37.062
20. Remy Gardner (AUS), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +42.442