The first Grand Prix of Argentina since 2019 saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder dash around the flat and fast Termas de Rio Hondo circuit for 6th position on Sunday. The ultra-competitive series continues to produce new winners and podium finishers but KTM are highly placed in every championship table.
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Tech3 KTM Factory Racing teams barely had time to catch their breath for the 25-lap Gran Premio Michelin de la República Argentina. Logistical difficulties for the organizers meant Free Practice and Qualification had to be crammed into a single day of activity on Saturday and saw all four KTM RC16s spread through the rows of the grid. MotoGP’s absence from Argentina for the last two years meant that three of KTM’s four riders were circulating Termas on the RC16 for the first time.
Rushed but still Ready to Race, it was Binder who made the most ground at the start and roamed inside the top ten and in a group with Maverick Viñales and Francesco Bagnaia. By the end of the distance Binder was able to attack and relegate Viñales for 6th, meaning his results read 2nd, 8th and 6th. Oliveira, who won round two in Indonesia, crossed the line in 13th having toughed-out some rear grip issues.
Raul Fernandez rode the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing RC16 to 16th position – the second-best rookie on the day - and just ahead of teammate Remy Gardner.
A relatively short trip north awaits MotoGP now as the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas will stage the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas next weekend.
Brad Binder: “It was a weekend where I expected more but we have to keep in mind that we started in 11th position and managed 6th, so it was a decent comeback. I wanted more and I expected more but I didn’t have the pace today. Hats-off to the team because it was not an easy GP and we all did a great job considering we only had Saturday to prepare. We have some good points in the bag and brought the bike home again. There is an opportunity now to apply what I learned from this race and go even better at COTA.”
Miguel Oliveira: “Obviously the position is not the one we envisioned but it was a tough race to manage. We had very low grip levels and clearly I did not feel as fast as I did in the practice but I was still able to score some points to the team. I think we can do a bit better in Texas. We will keep working on the bike, working on our weak points and make the most out of the package and myself.”
Raul Fernandez: “Today I had an amazing start to the race, especially in the first curve. Then when I saw Miguel [Oliveira], I told myself that I had to stay with him in order to learn from him and our bikes. The first part of the race, I made some mistakes that cost me a lot of time, and towards laps 6-7, I took a deep breath and tried to remain calm, focused, and continue with the pace I had, and give my all. Today, I learned how to do a MotoGP race, I made a clever race, and I am very happy about it, and with the work that the team did. Thank you to them. We must not forget that it is also only my second race here in Argentina, so if you weigh everything together, I am very happy.”
Remy Gardner: “I enjoyed the first part of the race, I stayed close to the group and had some nice battles with a couple of riders. I struggled more during the second half unfortunately. I am feeling my progress but everyone is improving too, so I have to stay positive and continue to work for myself and learn the bike. I take each race one by one and don’t look too far. I like Termas de Rio Hondo a lot - I have always had good results here - so I thought today might have been the turning point for me but it was not unfortunately so it is a bit tough to accept. I stay positive, and results will come.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “A pretty good day. We knew starting from the fourth and six rows that it would be a tough race but we recovered positions and Brad was very consistent to regain ground. His condition was very good, especially because he was in close company for a long time. We missed the good lap-times on Saturday: the positions might have been better. Miguel had problems with rear grip but still took some points for his championship tally. We’ll still go confident to USA expecting to be competitive again.”
Results MotoGP Gran Premio Michelin de la República Argentina
1. Aleix Espargaro (ESP), Aprilia 41:36.198
2. Jorge Martin (ESP), Ducati +0.807
3. Alex Rins (ESP) Suzuki +1.330
4. Joan Mir (ESP), Suzuki +1.831
5. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +5.840
6. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +6.192
13. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +14.456
16. Raul Fernandez (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +25.862
17. Remy Gardner (AUS), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +28.711