Brad Binder takes sixth in eventful #FrenchGP – DNF for Jack Miller
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing were close to adding another trophy to the shelves as Jack Miller led the SHARK Grand Prix de France at a sunny and capacity Le Mans and Brad Binder scored 6th for round five of twenty. Binder and the team both hold 3rd in their respective championship standings while KTM are currently the 2nd best constructor.
The short, tight but demanding Bugatti circuit within the vast Le Mans 24hr motorsport complex drew sunshine, spring temperatures and thousands and thousands of fans to round five of 2023 MotoGP. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing had already shown their competitiveness by topping Practice on Friday and finishing 2nd in the Saturday Sprint as both Jack Miller and Brad Binder respectively got down to pace with their KTM RC16.
Sunday meant the full Grand Prix distance and spectacle of 27 laps. It was Miller who made the more effective getaway and led the opening exchanges. The Australian slipped back the fringes of the top five as the laps ticked down and he battled to maximize the grip of the soft tire combination. With three circulations to go he met the gravel on the exit to Turn 4.
Binder made a fantastic getaway as well but contact with another rider into La Chapelle pushed the South African wide and almost out of the top twenty. He pulled his way back to 6th, despite having to endure a Long Lap penalty for running across the inside of Turn 9.
As the checkered flag waved, the championship standings pivoted to reflect Brad’s status in 3rd. Jack is 8th. MotoGP now breaks for three weekends before anticipation of the Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley around the epic curves of Mugello in mid-June.
Brad Binder, 6th:
“I had a really good feeling for the race and had a fantastic start but unfortunately in Turn 4 someone hit the side of me and I went from 6th-7th all the way back outside the top twenty. A tough one and then a tough fight to come through. I chipped away slowly but surely until I got an amazing slipstream on Jack and overshot the mark into Turn 9. I had to make a decision to save it and just shot across the inside of the chicane. I didn’t drop back far enough and from that mistake I had a Long Lap penalty: if bad luck comes in ‘threes’ then I think I spent them this race! It was important to keep my head down then and bring the bike home.”
Jack Miller, DNF:
“Obviously not the way we wanted to end things here. We had great pace all weekend and led a decent handful of laps but when the other boys came past they seemed to be able to knock-it-up a gear and I knew my marks: I knew where I could push and where I couldn’t. I was fading a little bit but also preserving the left side of the tire and I knew I had a bit left at the end. I then used too much curb on the inside of Turn 4 and that was all she wrote. I cut it tight just a little bit too much. Really disappointing for myself and the team, they have been doing an amazing job and the bike was so good all weekend. It’s a bummer to come away with no points but we’ll re-group for Mugello.”