• Binder charges from 18th on the grid to an eighth place finish after tyre choice gamble.
• The South African posts new highest classification for the RC16 after only five GPs at Losail.
• Binder says he approached the race with a 'give my all' mindset.
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The wind continued to blow, and the dust plumed across the flat and floodlit Losail International Circuit as the MotoGP teams returned to speed for the second dose of action in Qatar. Both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Tech3 KTM Factory Racing had another chance to improve the setup of the RC16 for what was the fifth GP - and in only four years - for the factory at the venue.
For the second time in a week, a 22-lap distance lay ahead for the riders, and the KTM quartet opted for the Medium tire compound, untried in race conditions. Oliveira made a fantastic launch from 12th on the grid and was haunting the top five and then top ten until he encountered a technical problem with his dash display.
Meanwhile, Brad Binder - who had also sprung away from a lowly 18th to plant himself into the leading group - made ground and two shrewd overtaking moves on the final lap allowed him to capture eighth position, beating the previous best for the factory set in 2019. Petrucci made the finish line in 19th place and 16 seconds from winner Fabio Quartararo. Iker Lecuona crashed out on lap 13.
A challenge awaits in Potugal
MotoGP finally escapes the rigours of Losail and Qatar and will fly back to Europe for a well-earned break. The Algarve International Circuit's spectacular challenge will restart the series for round three in a fortnight for the Grande Premio 888 de Portugal: Miguel Oliveira's home race and where he convincingly took the RC16 to victory last November.
Brad Binder said of his race: "Much happier, especially to have finished in the top ten today at least. Things were really difficult for us here in Qatar. When I arrived at the track this morning, I said to myself, 'whatever the situation, I don't care. I am just going to give my best every single lap'. And instead of trying to chase something that was a little bit out of reach, I just tried to do what I could each lap, and it seemed to pay off in the race. I'm really happy to have made up ten spots today."
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: "We can be happy with both riders in the points, and Brad rode so well to be only five seconds behind the winner. We worked very hard in all the sessions to find a setting and got better by the last weekend here at Losail. Miguel had a slight technical issue with his display, and it was tough to accept because he could have had a great race after the start he made. I haven't seen many starts like that in MotoGP, and it indicates a good future potential. We have some bright points to take from this tricky circuit for us: improvements to the bike and fast riders, so let's go to Europe now and push on."