KTM’s Brad Binder took home the victory in this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Nothing exciting there, except for two things: 1) Binder came from 6th position, and 2) he finished the wet race on slick tires.
“That was really scary! When I saw the rain coming I was trying to work out how many seconds I could lose per lap and when the others went in I decided to take the gamble,” said the 26-year-old South African racer.
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 tires and settings but Binder gambled and continued to ride his KTM RC16 to 1st place as the rain poured. Binder had a close call and ran off the track on the final lap which cost him a time penalty. Good thing that he had enough of a margin to make it home and spark wild celebrations in the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing pit box.
“I could push hard on the first lap but then the rear tire 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.”
Throughout the race, the leader position was highly contested between Ducati, Yamaha, and Honda until the rain poured with less than 5 laps remaining.