KTM ended their fifth year in MotoGP competition with 7th position in the eighteenth and final round of the world championship in Valencia and with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder securing 6th place in the standings.
Warm sunshine and cloudless skies graced the last MotoGP race of the year. The Circuito Ricardo Tormo welcomed over 70,000 spectators for the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana and the second event in the space of a week.
Binder was the most advanced KTM rider on the grid having qualified in 7th position and headed the third row. The South African planted himself into the mid-top ten where he managed to stay ahead of Enea Bastianini and tried to close the gap to Johann Zarco. By the flag he was only 1.5 seconds from 6th for his thirteenth top ten finish of the year.
Teammate Miguel Oliveira faced some adversity thanks to his grid position of 20th but the Portuguese rode around a lack of feeling with the front tire to make it to 14th and two points. He was just ahead of Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Iker Lecuona in 15th while Danilo Petrucci finished an emotional last MotoGP outing in 18th.
2021 action and work ends with a final two-day test at the Circuit de Jerez-Angel Nieto this coming Thursday and Friday where the two KTM teams will evaluate ideas and components for their 2022 set-up on the RC16s.
Brad Binder: “I’m happy with where we finished in the championship and the race was a lot harder than I expected. I thought I’d be stronger and, unfortunately, I was missing a little in a few places and the gap was too much to make-up in some corners. It was a tough race but I tried my absolute best from lap one to the end. I have to leave here happy because I left it all on the table. It has been my most consistent year and a level-up. I have to thank the team. Even though we had some tough times they never stopped working. 6th in the championship is good and now five to go.”
Miguel Oliveira: “I knew it was going to be difficult today but we made it into the points. My pace wasn’t fantastic and I struggled a bit with the front tire. Overall, it wasn’t our best race and we have to take motivation into the winter test that starts next week and keep working for the future.”
Iker Lecuona: “Finally, I could finish the race, finish with one point, so I reached my goal. I struggled a lot but we finished close to the top guys. I just want to say thanks to the team for these two years! I cried a lot, I enjoyed a lot, I learned, I improved, so I want to say thanks to the team and for sure to my family, friends, the spectators, who came here to push me and to see my last race. So, thanks to everybody! It’s not the last goodbye. To be continued.”
Danilo Petrucci: “A huge thank you to everybody, everybody in KTM, everybody in Tech3 and generally everyone, who has been working with me. We tried our best. In this race, I just tried to enjoy until the last moment. I’m really thankful for everything. Now it’s time to rest a bit.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “The final race in Valencia is usually a difficult and an emotional one. In our case Danilo and Iker leave the MotoGP class and we had a great time with them and were able to count on some valuable development information from both and their styles. Danilo is a great guy and Iker also, who came into our team almost as an experiment and made much progress. We wish both of them all the best. Today Brad made a great race in a competitive field and took 7th and then 6th in the championship and we’re proud of that because this was our first year without concessions and he did it through a long and tricky season. We didn’t achieve our goals with Miguel - we both were not happy with that result today - and this means we need to analyze why. We all know his skills and his talent to ride this bike and he showed it several times. We are 100% convinced we will find the road back with him. Thanks to all the hard work from the company and all the people involved in this project. We will have a short rest and then push hard in the winter for 2022.”
Results MotoGP Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana 2021
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Ducati 41:15.481
2. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +0.489
3. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.823
4. Joan Mir (ESP) Suzuki +5.214
5. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +5.439
7. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +8.437
14. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +18.221
15. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +19.233
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +32.169