MotoGP barreled onto the quick kinks and climes of the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit for the Gran Premio Michelin de la Republica Argentina. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder thrilled the fans with a remarkable launch from 15th to win the second ever MotoGP Tissot Sprint by fractions of a second. Teammate Jack Miller grabbed 10th place having moved up from 16th. Deniz Öncü shone in Moto3™ with 2nd spot.
From Portugal to the west, and fast. Argentina was the destination for MotoGP with barely a pause between an intense start to the 2023 season and the transcontinental trip to South America. The teams swapped trucks for freight and road for air miles as the fans and fever descended on Termas for the second year in a row.
Brad Binder had made good progress from the discomfort of his neck problem that limited some of his potential in Portugal and the South African wheeled the KTM RC16 to 15th place in qualification after MotoGP suffered low grip conditions and unstable weather with bouts of rainfall on Saturday. In the 12-lap Sprint Binder scorched from the bottom of the fifth row of the grid, cut his way to 5th in the opening corners and seized control by the third lap. Brad put the #33 on top of the podium for the first time since his victory in 2021 in Austria.
Jack Miller, bubbling after a fast and proactive debut for the team In Portugal, continued to improve. The Australian, a former Pole Position holder at Termas, qualified in 16th and also made a strong start in the Sprint. He crossed the line in 10th, just five seconds behind his teammate and built his pace up through the distance; clocking his best lap just two circulations from the finish.
The 12-lap dash on Saturday was the ‘appetizer’ and means MotoGP will now look to run 25 laps at full distance for the Grand Prix on Sunday. The race program starts at 16.00 CET with Moto3. MotoGP blasts away from the lights at 19.00 CET.
Brad Binder, 15th in qualification, 1st in the Sprint: “I surprised myself a little bit: what a start. I got super-tight in Turn 1, held the inside line and then just picked them off one at a time. I thought if I could go to the front and fight like hell then maybe I could stay there and the plan worked. I could hear the boys behind me at the end but brought it home. Thanks to my team; the step from yesterday was unreal, the bike was fantastic and I look forward to see how we can manage tomorrow.”
Jack Miller, 16th in qualification, 10th in the Sprint: “I struggled a lot at the beginning of the race and it seemed to get better lap by lap and by lap six I was starting to get more comfortable. I was able to improve. I was trying really hard to catch back to Fabio [Quartararo] and [Jorge] Martin in front of me and I was making some headway there. I think it was the first time in my career that I have prayed for more laps than there was! Brad showed the bike has all the capabilities. He qualified one position in front of me on the grid and he made it work, that’s for certain, I could not believe it. He rode a mega race. The bike has great potential and I could make some decent overtakes and put it where I wanted. It’s all practice for tomorrow.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: “Super! An incredible race by Brad. He had an amazing start. Very clean and not too aggressive. He passed like a champion and defended the lead on the last lap like a lion. Unfortunately for Jack he was still missing grip at the start of the race and got stuck in the group but the pace was good. The race pace was really fast for everyone and it was difficult to overtake. We hoped to be better than we managed in qualification and this was the result.”
Results Qualifying MotoGP Gran Premio Michelin de la Republica Argentina
1. Alex Marquez (ESP) Ducati 1:43.881
2. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati +0.172
3. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +0.858
15. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:47.511 (Q1)
16. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:47.671 (Q1)
Results MotoGP Sprint Gran Premio Michelin de la Republica Argentina
1. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 19:56.873
2. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati +0.072
3. Luca Marini (ITA) Ducati +0.877
10. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +5.143