What Brad Binder achieved by winning the Czech Grand Prix last week is difficult to put into perspective, according to former Grand Prix rider Dave Petersen, who says his 24-year-old compatriot’s maiden top-flight victory has placed him among a select band of motorsport gladiators.
Before Binder, 65-year-old Petersen was the last South African rider to score world championship points in the top class of motorcycling Grands Prix.
Petersen, who achieved the feat in 1987 (on a HB Suzuki in the 500cc world title chase), believed Binder was living up to his immense potential.
“The competition is a lot more intense these days,” Petersen admitted.
“Just getting into the Moto3 circus via the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup takes massive talent and dedication, not to mention financial support.
“Moto3 is murderously competitive, and Binder’s 2016 championship title with Red Bull KTM set him aside as one of the chosen few with a shot at even mounting a MotoGP bike.”
As their first circuit racing world champion, Binder was always part of the KTM factory’s long-term MotoGP plans after the company moved into the premier class in 2017.
Few people expected the South African to run at the front end of the field in his first season, however, and even fewer would have tipped him to win a race.
He nonetheless delivered a stunning performance to become the first SA rider to win a MotoGP race, and the first to do so on a KTM.
Petersen felt it was a sign of things to come, with Binder set to line up again in Austria this weekend at the Red Bull Ring, considered the KTM team’s home circuit.
“MotoGP bikes are the stuff of dragons and jet fighters. They produce more than 230 kW of power, and only the best of the world’s best riders can ride them at a competitive pace,” Petersen said.
“Binder is one of those riders, and there will be more of the same this year. He is currently fifth in the 2020 MotoGP title chase, which is nothing short of amazing for a rookie. He is a real hero.”