Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder gained almost ten positions to enter the top ten of the MotoGP class at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal for the Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve.
The KTM quartet began the 25-lap race in sunshine and under blue skies. Iker Lecuona was the most advanced on the grid in 10th position (his second-best slot of the year) but was followed by teammate Danilo Petrucci in 15th, Miguel Oliveira in 17th and Brad Binder 19th.
Lecuona made a strong launch on the KTM RC16 but Petrucci’s race lasted only a few seconds as he tumbled on Turn 4 after contact in the pack. Oliveira was sensational to gain seven places and move up to 10th in the opening minutes. Lecuona ran wide into Turn 1 which caused the young Spaniard to drop out of the top ten and into the clutches of Brad Binder; the South African also making up decent ground.
Lecuona again set decent lap-times but an ambitious move to pass Oliveira on the inside of Turn 13 caused both riders to fall out of the race and saw the red flag bring proceedings to a premature halt. With three quarters of the Grand Prix complete, the results were declared and Binder ended the day 10th. Oliveira was taken to the local hospital for a precautionary check-up.
There will be little respite for MotoGP as the series heads east this week and directly to the Ricardo Tormo Circuit for the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana: the eighteenth and final round of 2021.
Brad Binder: “A difficult weekend for us in general. The team did a great job overnight and in warm-up I was much happier with my set-up. I felt stronger and more confident going into the race but it took me too many laps to understand how to ride well. I made too many mistakes and it took too long to come up to a good pace. By the time I got a good rhythm and made some passes the red flag came out. A tough time but the team worked so hard. We’ll definitely be stronger next week.”
Iker Lecuona: “This morning I felt really good, like all the weekend. But during the race I had a lot of issues to stop the bike, after 10 laps I started to struggle with the front, I saved three, four crashes and I don’t know why. Although it was the first time that we did that many laps with the hard rear and the medium front. But I was still confident to fight for a top ten result. After some mistakes the top group was gone but I thought a good result was still on the table. I had a lot of fights with Brad and Miguel and when I tried to overtake Miguel there was a bump, I crashed and we were out. I went straight to see him to apologize and checked if he is ok. I’m very sorry for him.”
Danilo Petrucci: “I have really no words because it’s the second time in a row that another rider takes me out of the race. This time, it was even a KTM. I don’t know if it was Brad or Miguel, but the result is the same. I did four corners and crashed without any fault by myself. This was the second time in two races and the fourth time this year. It’s really bad luck, as we have been truly in good shape this time.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “A rough outcome to a difficult weekend where we actually managed to get into contention for the top ten. Thankfully it looks like everything is OK with the riders at the moment. Brad managed 10th and it’s not the results we want but the positive part is that it’s some points and we will take full energy to Valencia to finish the season in a better way.”
Results MotoGP Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve 2021
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Ducati 38:17.720
2. Joan Mir (ESP) Suzuki +2.478
3. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +6.402
4. Alex Marquez (FRA) Honda +6.453
5. Johann Zarco (FRA), Ducati +7.882
10. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +14.487
DNF. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
DNF. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing
DNF. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing