The Grand Prix of Qatar launched MotoGP for the 15th time in the last 16 years and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder rode to a superb 2nd position after 22 laps of the Lusail International Circuit on Sunday evening.
Binder made an electric start from the third row until the Lusail lights for the first race of 21 and the longest world championship season on record. The South African pushed his KTM RC16 into 3rd position in the formative laps and never budged from the leading quartet. He worked his way past Marc Marquez and then Pol Espargaro and was closing to the rear wheel of eventual winner Enea Bastianini by the checkered flag. Binder was just three-tenths of a second from the Italian at the finish line.
The result represents KTM’s first trophy of the year, the second time in Brad’s career that he has finished on the podium at the opening race (the first was in 2016 and his Moto3 title year) and the third MotoGP top-three of his career.
Brad Binder: “Incredible. If you told me we’d be 2nd in Qatar after the first test I wouldn’t have believed you. Today was a great day, it was a great weekend. I knew we had a good level but I had so much confidence and belief in the bike from beginning to end. We made such a huge step. For us to be on the podium in Qatar is insane. Now we’re looking for more!”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “An almost perfect start to the season and a deserved result for Brad and the whole team. It was an incredible race pace but he was able to manage the speed. The start was fantastic. Let’s keep going in this direction.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: “It was an outstanding weekend. We restructured our whole program over the winter after coming so far, so quick and it was time for a change. This weekend showed we are on the right way and the podium was the ultimate payback. In fact, I still cannot believe it because this track is one of the toughest for us. We turned it around and this result means a lot to us.”
Results MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar 2022
1. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Ducati 42:13.198
2. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.346
3. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Honda +1.351
4. Aleix Espargaro (ESP) Aprilia +2.242
5. Marc Marquez (ESP) Honda +4.099
15. Remy Gardner (AUS), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +41.107
18. Raul Fernandez (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +42.357
DNF. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
MotoGP moves to the new Mandalika Circuit in Lombok for the Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia on March 20th.