Binder: KTM losing concessions ‘hasn’t changed anything’


KTM starts the 2021 season for the first time as a non-concession manufacturer, after it had its results-based benefits revoked for winning three races in 2020.

This means KTM has not been able to carry out any private testing with its race riders since last August and will have to run the season with fewer engines than before while observing a development freeze.

KTM struggled in pre-season testing and failed to show any signs of improvement during practice on Friday in Qatar, with none of its four riders cracking the top 15.

Binder was the leading KTM after FP2, 0.984 seconds off the pace, and noted the main issue has been an inability to turn the bike quickly.

“I think our main issue is quite clear, we’re just not turning as quickly as we need to,” he said. “Especially in corners where you don’t use a lot of front brake, you keep the bike flowing.

“We’re not quite getting the front to the point where we need it until we put a lot of pressure and therefore we’re losing a bit of turning.”

Asked if KTM has found itself disadvantaged by the loss of its concession benefits, Binder replied: “I don’t think losing concessions changed anything at all. I don’t see that making us better or worse at the moment.

“We knew this weekend wasn’t going to be easy for us. It’s clear that we’re missing a little bit of pace and we knew that coming in.

“There’s not a lot to say, other than that we need to take the max out of every day.”

Binder also brushed off the notion KTM would have to resort to damage limitation for the rest of the weekend, adding: “I think it’s too early to say that, it’s only Friday after all. I have an amazing team behind me and they’ll get around it.

“I have no doubt. For sure it’s difficult, it’s not easy but it’s not the end. We’ll get it right.”

Binder’s factory teammate Miguel Oliveira, who was 19th after Friday’s running, has found it difficult to go much faster than he currently is able to go on soft tyres and notes the RC16 becomes unstable whenever he tries to force the bike.

“When we try to force the bike to do it a little bit faster, we create a bit of instability,” he said. “Whether it’s on the brakes, turning or on the throttle, it’s becoming difficult to be balanced.

“We just need to understand what we need to fix first on what we already have. We’re far away in the standings, but I really think in terms of position we can do a much better job.

“The qualification is a completely different story than the race. If you’re not there, it’s really difficult to do a good result.”

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