Rookie of the Year Brad Binder surpassed all expectations

South Africa's Brad Binder, the MotoGP Rookie of the Year, has his sights set on becoming world champion. Picture: Getty Images

“No MotoGP rookie is expected to win a race, so the motorcycling community sat up and took notice on 9 August, when Brad did just that.”

Brad Binder’s biggest problem this year was the fact that he won a MotoGP race.

The young South African Red Bull KTM rider’s victory in this season’s Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno was brilliant, but it raised unrealistic expectations from local fans the rest of the year.

Thus, Binder being named the 2020 MotoGP Rookie of the Year should be seen as another excellent achievement.

So says former Grand Prix racer and South African motorsport guru Dave Petersen.

“When the 2020 season started, both Red Bull KTM and Brad merely hoped to score some points by finishing races in the top 15, while learning how to properly ride a MotoGP motorcycle,” said Petersen.

“No MotoGP rookie is expected to win a race, so the motorcycling community sat up and took notice on 9 August, when Brad did just that.”

Brad Binder

South African MotoGP ace, Brad Binder, with his Rookie of the Year trophy. Picture: Supplied

Binder became the first South African to win in MotoGP’s premier class, plus the first rookie to win since 2013.

With 87 points to his name, Brad finished 11th in the 2020 championship, putting him ahead of Alex Marquez in the rookie contest, the latter having earned 74 points to put him in 14th place.

Reflecting on the year that was 2020, Binder described his MotoGP season as “tough but fantastic, with big highs and low lows. I think all of it will build me up to be a stronger rider next season.

“I want to say a massive thank you to the entire team. The feeling is great and we have a competitive package for 2021.”

Binder will remain with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing outfit when the MotoGP action resumes in 2021.

His brother Darryn, who rode for the CIP Green Power KTM in the Moto3 category this year, grabbed his maiden Grand Prix victory in the Catalan race at the Valencia circuit on 27 September.

He has signed to ride for the Petronas Sprinta team for 2021, which means he will move to Honda power.

“Darryn is too tall for Moto3 – he is as thin as a rake, but still weighs in about five kilogrammes more than the rest.

“He was still one of the year’s quickest riders and the move to Petronas Sprinta is a smart one.

“They have teams in both Moto2 and MotoGP. Thus, if Darryn continues to ride as well as he did this year, he will eventually end up on a Moto2 machine, where I am sure he will shine,” Petersen said.

“It would be fantastic if we could have two South Africans on the MotoGP grid in another three or four years,” Petersen concluded.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.





today in print