MotoGP

Binder blames Qatar MotoGP practice slump on “paranormal activity”

The double MotoGP race winner came out of the blocks swinging on Friday at the Losail International Circuit by topping FP1

But he slumped to 15th on the combined order come the end of FP2 later that day and will likely face Q1 in qualifying on Saturday as FP3 conditions will make lap time improvements difficult. 

Binder says issues with his RC16’s engine brake system, which proved to be intermittent in FP2, led to his issues but otherwise he feels good on the bike.

“I mean, I can’t be going to bed unhappy,” Binder said on Friday evening. “FP1 was good, my feelings were quite good. Unfortunately, in FP2, we had something really strange going on. 

“We had, I don’t know what to call it exactly, but it was a bit of ‘paranormal activity’, where sometimes I’d close the gas and go down gears and I’d have engine brake. 

“And other times I wouldn’t, so we had some small issue there that we couldn’t quite figure out. So, the boys are at it now and they’ll fix that. 

“Other than that I’m quite happy, I feel good on the bike, I just couldn’t really push to the limit because I wasn’t sure what I’d be getting corner to corner. 

“So, a small hiccup. Unfortunately, it’s sending us to Q1, but I’ve been there enough times, so let’s see what we can do.”

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: MotoGP

Binder says KTM’s issue of a lack of front-end support when running the front soft tyre – which has to be used in the night sessions in Qatar because of the cooler temperatures – remains, but insists the Austrian marque is in “much better shape” that it was this time last year.

“I feel really good when we were on the hard front tyre in the hot conditions,” he added. “I have a lot of support from the front and I feel I can push it quite hard. 

“But when we use the soft front at night when you have to use that tyre, because it’s the only one that can run in that temperature – also the medium can too, but the medium didn’t quite have the edge grip that I need – it’s a bit of a struggle because I don’t have the support with the soft front. 

“The edge is quite good on it, but just difficult to stop the bike. It’s difficult to say exactly because we had some issues on the engine brake side. It’s something we’ve always noticed that our stronger point is when it’s hot. 

“I think we’re in a much, much better spot than we were here last year. We just have a few issues to work out, but tomorrow we’re going to give it a send for sure.” 


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