Round fourteen saw riders visit San Marino for the first of two races at the flat and winding Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. The fifth last race weekend of the GP calendar (round 14 of 18) was a tricky one for teams and riders with sunny and warm conditions mixed with a threat of stormy showers. Friday afternoon was a wet mess and looming clouds by the time of the MotoGP race on Sunday afternoon caused concern that there would be another radical change in the climate.
The third practice session brought with it two red flag periods, after a turn five crash with four minutes to go. Darryn Binder was able to head back out in the final two minutes, following a second red flag—with the pressure on he posted the eighth fastest lap.
Darryn made a strong start to Q2, posted a fast lap time that kept him inside the front three rows for the majority of the session. Unable to improve it further, Darryn would find himself on the fifth row of the San Marino grid, after ending Q2 14th.
This was more than a good enough performance, as Darryn was yet to fully recover from a massive high side crash in FP2…
Darryn made an epic start, muscled his way from 14th and claim five places in five corners, before moving into seventh by the second lap. Just when we thought the charge was over, Darryn battled even harder with those around him and was in contention for the podium, after having moved into third with nine laps to go.
With the effects of his crashes from Friday and Saturday starting to catch up to him, Darryn was unable to stay with the leading group and ended the race sixth. He now sits seventh in the championship with 114 points.
DB: “It’s been a difficult weekend for me, as I had a really big crash in FP2 and that left me feeling terrible yesterday. I wasn’t able to qualify very well and I was still struggling in Warm Up this morning because of it. I gave it everything I had to get to the front at the start of the race and I felt strong. I was fighting for the podium positions, but with five laps to go I couldn’t block out the pain anymore. It was difficult to keep concentration in those last laps, I was making silly mistakes, and I just couldn’t hang onto the back of the group anymore. I still managed to finish sixth, which is good, and I had good pace at the beginning of the race. I’ve got to take the positives with me as I go home to recover, and come back stronger in America.”
Saturday’s FP3 saw the top sixteen riders split by less than a second. Brad Binder put in a good performance considering the tough conditions, but he just couldn’t quite find the right setting to be comfortable, in order to improve his feeling on the bike.
Binder came so close to escaping Q1 and was less than half a second from making the cut, despite a small tumble in the final minutes of the session. In the end, he classified 7th, meaning 17th on the grid.
Worry was still in the paddock come Sunday as many teams and riders made their way to the grid, not knowing if the event would remain dry…
The Austrian machines lined up on the opposite end of the grid this weekend with riders lining up on the sixth, seventh and eighth rows of the grid with Binder the further forward in 17th place. Despite this, Brad and the team made some good setup changes during the morning warm-up, which seemed to later benefit Brad during the race.
Like always, Brad’s tactic is to take advantage of the start of every race, and in Misano, it was no different. Number ‘33’ was quickly off the line, push his way up the order and hovered on the edge of the top ten. As other riders made mistakes and faltered Binder arrived in 10th and then sought to attack Takaaki Nakagami for 9th and made his move with five laps to go.
Unfortunately, the laps ran out before Brad could pounce on Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia in 8th. He now sits sixth in the championship with 124 points.
BB: “I gave my max today from lap one until the end. I feel we made an improvement from yesterday to today and that was clear from the morning and warm-up. We finished 9th when I struggled to break through the top 17 all weekend, so hats off to the boys, they are working hard. We need to keep grafting. We have the test coming up so we need some more understanding and then we’ll be back to where we need to be.”
The Binders will now turn their attention to the first ‘overseas’ round of the year since the Doha GP: the Grand Prix of the Americas in North America (1-3 October).