(11 August 2019) Leon Botha 

So used to something going wrong for us South Africans – due to many reasons of our own making, I was pleased to see “our” Brad Binder sitting on the front row of the Moto2 GP grid in Austria.

Armed with a naartjie and ginger beer – I settled in front of the TV to watch the start of the GP Moto2 race and a few laps before we had to go to lunch. 

The red lights came on and it seemed if Brad was not comfortable in his seat – everyone else were bend forward, had the right gear selected, ready to go and he was still fiddling around on his bike. 

Just when I considered getting up to leave, for the lunch date, the red lights went out and the pack of MotoGP2 entries for the Austrian Grand Prix competitors were on their way! 

At first I could not make out who was leading but when they came out of the first corner – Binder was ahead and started opening a gap!

Second fastest during qualifying and leading on the first laps were great presents for the birthday boy already and I was pleased for him, but still not convinced that all would go well to the end. 

Pole man Tetsuta Nagashima had just fought back for second with a fastest lap and beautiful overtake on Xavi Vierge when Vierge tried to fight back and clipped the back of the Japanese rider, taking them both out of the race after just a handful of laps had taken place.

I clicked the “recorder” reluctantly when I had to leave as the missus was waiting in the car already – while Binder was holding on like the master he is and I could see why KTM signed him up for the GP class next year. 

I left while Binder was in control, but the KTM Ajo rider was involved in a battle with Australian Remy Gardner and Italian duo Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini.

A minute after we were back from lunch – leaving the missus to close the garage door and carry the “doggy bags” from the car – I hit the “play” button and …Nagashima and Vierge were out!  

Binder was leaning through a corner – shoulder almost touching the tar, Bastianini and Marini, Remy Garner and Marquez were on his tail.

There were 8000 Orange Clad KTM workers and fans sitting together on a reserved stand and it was incredible to see the flags waving and people cheering everytime the KTM favourite – Brad Binder came around! 

The pace was on the limit and whoever wanted to catch – let alone beat, Brad Binder had to pull out more than a white rabbit from an orange T-shirt! 

Still – if you have to do it, you have to do it! 

My close friends will tell you that I am a superstitious person and I sat there with a twinkle in my eye – I started to get the feeling that the gods of Moto2 were going to be with our man! 

The hot under the collar procession continued and Binder led the pack with a few changed here and there between Gardner and Bastianini taking place.

Then with only 6 laps to go Gardner came into  corner far too hot, missed Brad’s rear wheel, went wide and then simply came back side swiping an innocent Marquez.- luckily only Gardner went down while the championship point leader managed to stay on his bike and in the race.

Bastianini and Marini were still at each other’s throats sharing the leading chase with Marquez.  

Then with only 5 laps remaining Marini lost his bike and he took out his fellow country man – Bastianini with him. 

Now it was a straight dice between Binder and Marquez!

The pressure on Binder was immense, the Orange KTM Stand was loaded with energy and it looked like an orange explosion when Binder passed them for the last time before beating Marquez who simply had no answer to counter an almost faultless drive.   

The KTM rider was all smiles after ending a winless spell stretching back to Australia in October last year.

“I can’t imagine a better day than winning on my birthday at KTM’s home track,” the 2016 Moto3 champion beamed.

Binder crossed the line with a 0.330 advantage over Alex Marquez, who moved on to 181 points at the top of the Moto2 championship’s standings, a lead of 43 points over Thomas Luthi.

Binder’s success came just after Austrian manufacturer KTM had announced they were withdrawing from the Moto2 championship at the end of this season to plough all their resources into MotoGP in an initial five-year deal.

That will suit Binder, who is graduating to the premier category in 2020.

Marquez’ second place on the podium was hard earned.

The brother of MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez had started from 11th on the grid but managed to avoid a series of crashes that eliminated Japan’s pole sitter Tetsuta Nagashima, Spain’s Xavi Vierge, Australian Remy Gardner and Italian duo Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini.

“The conditions were very difficult and treacherous with a very slippery circuit,” he said.

Brad Binder winner of the MotoGP2What a fantastic birthday present to a true champion – our man – who made it to the chequered flag before a bunch of determined riders and a stand filled with orange KTM flags, t-shirts and hats – cheering,  joining me where I had to wipe the ginger beer from the TV and furniture!

The new MotoDoctor has arrived!

He is calculated, incredibly talented and calm – and most of all – it seems if Brad can stay on the very limit for days on end!

There were three different manufacturers in the rostrum places after the spills in front of him on the track saw Jorge Navarro climb into the final podium spot for Beta Tools Speed Up.

…and if this exciting race was not more than enough for the money, the MotoGp delivered even more..



Dovizioso managed to win after swapping the lead with Marquez and then take the lead after a brilliant last-corner pass on Marquez!

Marques was on a mission to finally break the Ducati dominance in the Red Bull Ring – but Dovizioso launched a perfect block-pass at the very final opportunity for arguably his greatest victory to date.


Rookie Quartararo took the early lead when Marquez and Dovizioso ran wide after a braking duel on the opening lap. Then after being overtaken by the two leaders the Petronas Yamaha rider outshone the factory M1s of Rossi and Vinales fair-and-square to complete the podium.

Miller fell from the lead group while Espargaro’s KTM appeared to cut out at the apex of Turn 3, Crutchlow falling in the chain reaction that followed.

What a day of fantastic racing – especially after the Springboks beat Argentina and the Bulls won their game against the Lions as well! 


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