MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Brad Binder: KTM’s next big thing
Brad Binder is that rarest of things – a rookie factory MotoGP rider. The 24-year-old South African tells us where he’s from, why he didn’t win the 2019 Moto2 title and what he expects from his first year in the premier class
Not many riders get to be factory riders in their rookie MotoGP season. Usually this only happens to the greats, like Marc Márquez and Maverick Viñales.
This year 2016 Moto3 world champion and 2019 Moto2 runner-up Brad Binder rides an RC16 for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. The youngster has an aggressive, manhandling riding technique, which should work well with the hard-to-handle RC16.
A lot of people expected you to win the 2019 Moto2 title. What went wrong?
The biggest problem was that when I first rode the 2019 bike I didn’t like it at all. I said, “guys, we need to do something, it’s not good enough”.
As soon as you tipped the bike onto full lean the rear wheel literally started to jump, then the whole bike started and you were screwed. They made a couple of small changes but it didn’t change anything.
I just knew the bike didn’t work, it had so much chatter it was insane. Even at the end of the season we still had a huge amount. It was really strange because the chatter started at the rear and then went to the front.
We tried absolutely everything and we never seemed to be able to get rid of it. Considering where we started last season and where we ended up it was crazy to think how many steps they took forward.
I mean it was tough. I’m really lucky that we had a big company like KTM behind us because I had seven different bikes last year.
By the end of the season we were close, it was much better, but we still had the same problem. We never got it away completely, but eventually we got it to where it was almost non-existent when I had a new tyre, but then as soon as we lost grip it got worse and worse, which made it extremely difficult at the end of races.
Did KTM go too stiff with the chassis, or what?
I don’t know, to be honest, I haven’t a clue. We tried so many different things, some worked and others didn’t.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.