KTM played no part in the thrilling battle to win the Australian Grand Prix. Brad Bender finished tenth, less than six seconds behind the winner. As is often the case, South Africa pulled coals from the fire in the race.
But why did KTM struggle on Phillip Island? Even in free practice, all four drivers missed direct entry into Q2. Even in the first division, reaching the second quarter wasn’t within reach at the end.
“From what I’ve seen, we’re not moving fast enough [in die Kurve] With, “Binder explains the special characteristics of the ring.” Other drivers have a higher average when we change direction. “
“On this track, you can’t attack anywhere with the brakes or try anything to make up for the time we lose in the liquid part. But my team has worked really well to improve the feel of these sections.”
His teammate Miguel Oliveira confirmed these impressions: “We are not fast enough. You need a lot of control and a good turn. It’s hard to find that.” Race winner Alex Rins proved just how important this aspect is with Suzuki.
Bender didn’t want to easily deal with tires
The sixth-graders Bender attacked starting in 16th. “It was a very good start and passed five or six riders. In turn, a few riders were affected. When they modified their bikes, I was out.”
“As a result, I lost a lot of positions again,” the South African said. “I attacked as hard as I could and held the group in front of me. I got past a few and saw that everyone was keeping their tyres.”
“That’s when I realized I was going to have problems at the end of the race. But I decided to try something and maybe have tire problems instead of just competing. We lost one second all weekend, or at least 0.6 seconds.”
“In the race we were five and a half seconds behind the winner. Our performance in the race was clearly better. Of course I am not satisfied with the result because we can do a lot better.”
Oliveira catches up last on the net
Oliveira finished 24th and last on the net after receiving two penalties after qualifying. “As expected, it was a tough race,” says the Portuguese. “Overtaking was difficult because it is a very flexible and fast track.”
“It was also difficult to overtake down the slope. This is a chance to get out of the last turn. That is why it took a few laps to overtake the drivers. I wasted time and saved tyres. But in the end I had no more.”
“Maybe I could catch up with Paul if I could get past Darren and Cal earlier.” So Oliveira comes to a realistic conclusion: “Twelfth place from last on the net with a long penalty kick is what it looks like.”
The Tech 3 duo is back in the back of the pack. Remy Gardner earned a championship point for 15th in his home race. Raul Fernandez crossed the finish line just behind him in 16th place.
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