The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider took the step of the podium for the second time in 2021 and for the second year in a row at the Red Bull Ring.
The second taste of the Red Bull Ring for MotoGP took place in front of the biggest fan attendance since the start of the pandemic as the sport welcomed back a full allocation of spectators for the 11th round of the 2021 campaign, at the Bitci Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich.
Sunshine and decent temperatures were also part of the ingredients for an eagerly anticipated Austrian Grand Prix but the race itself took a late dramatic turn with a heavy shower that coated the track for the last four laps of 28 in the race.
The 2020 winner at the Spielberg venue, Miguel Oliveira, was the highest KTM RC16 runner on the start grid and occupied the final slot on the third row, just one space ahead of team-mate Binder.
It was the South African Binder who made the brighter start as Tech3 KTM Factory Racing pair Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci tried to thread their way through the pack from the second half of the group.
Binder had moved up to 6th when the rain started to appear and the leaders grouped together as the conditions became more perilous.
The five riders ahead of him elected to pull into the pits to change to wet weather settings but Binder gambled and gingerly guided his KTM RC16 to 1st place as the water plummeted.
The 26-year-old almost fell, and actually ran off the track on the final lap with the rain at its heaviest. He had enough of a margin to make it home and spark wild celebrations in the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing pitbox.
Lecuona also stayed on track and at one stage in the final three laps held a podium slot. The Spaniard was eventually passed by the riders charging on wet tires but his 6th place represents a career-best. Petrucci passed the flag down in 12th.
Oliveira was counted out of the running with a crash at turn one with six laps remaining and just as a shower started to fall.
Oliveira is still dealing with the discomfort of the micro fracture in his right wrist and will now use the gap between races to rehabilitate further.
The Monster Energy British Grand Prix will take MotoGP to Silverstone for the first time in two years and for round 12 in two weeks’ time.
“That was really scary! When I saw the rain coming I was trying to work but how many seconds I could lose per lap and, when the others went in, I decided to take the gamble,” said Binder afterwards.
“I could push hard on the first lap but then the rear tyre started to slide as the temperature cooled. Then I lost the carbon brakes.
“Wow, I think there was someone up there holding me up today because there were a couple of moments when I thought it was over. Here in front of the fans and the home race for KTM and Red Bull I felt like I had to take the gamble. To win today is insane.”
Photo courtesy KTM Europe
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Results MotoGP Michelin Grand Prix of Styria 2021
- Brad Binder (RSA), KTM 40:46.928
- Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +9.991
- Jorge Martin (ESP), Ducati +11.570
- Joan Mir (ESP), Suzuki +12.623
- Luca Marini (ITA) Ducati +14.831
- Iker Lecuona (ESP), KTM +14.952
Rider Standings after 11 rounds:
1 QUARTARARO Fabio, FRA, 181 points, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
2 BAGNAIA Francesco, ITA, 134, Ducati Lenovo Team, Ducati
3 MIR Joan, SPA, 134, Team Suzuki Ecstar, Suzuki
4 ZARCO Johann, FRA, 132, Pramac Racing, Ducati
5 MILLER Jack, AUS, 105, Ducati Lenovo Team, Ducati
6 BINDER Brad, RSA, 98, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, KTM
7 VINALES Maverick, SPA, 95, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Yamaha
8 OLIVEIRA Miguel, POR, 85, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, KTM
9 ESPARGARO Aleix, SPA, 67, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, Aprilia
10 MARTIN Jorge, SPA, 64, Pramac Racing, Ducati
11 MARQUEZ Marc, SPA, 59, Repsol Honda Team, Honda
12 NAKAGAMI Takaaki, JPN, 55, LCR Honda, Honda
13 RINS Alex, SPA, 44, Team Suzuki Ecstar, Suzuki
14 MARQUEZ Alex, SPA, 41, LCR Honda, Honda
15 ESPARGARO Pol, SPA, 41, Repsol Honda Team, Honda
16 MORBIDELLI Franco, ITA, 40, Petronas Yamaha SRT, Yamaha
17 BASTIANINI Enea, ITA, 31, Avintia Esponsorama, Ducati
18 PETRUCCI Danilo, ITA, 30, Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing, KTM
19 ROSSI Valentino, ITA, 28, Petronas Yamaha SRT, Yamaha
20 MARINI Luca, ITA, 27, SKY VR46 Avintia, Ducati
21 LECUONA Iker, SPA, 24, Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing, KTM
22 BRADL Stefan, GER, 11, Team HRC, Honda
23 PEDROSA Dani, SPA, 6, KTM Test Team, KTM
24 SAVADORI Lorenzo, ITA, 4, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, Aprilia
25 PIRRO Michele, ITA, 3, Pramac Racing, Ducati
26 RABAT Tito, SPA, 1, Pramac Racing, Ducati.