SportMotoGPDarryn Binder's promotion to MotoGP creates doubts and "is...

Darryn Binder's promotion to MotoGP creates doubts and "is a risk"

WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Racing , the team refounded by Razlan Razali from the ashes of Petronas SRT that dazzled two years ago with Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli , will take part in the 2022 championship with the oldest rider on the grid, the Italian Andrea Dovizioso , who will turn 36 on March 23, along with one of the debutants in the category, the South African Darryn Binder , 24.

Binder’s promotion directly from Moto3 to the premier class is a situation that has not been experienced since 2015, when Jack Miller made the jump directly from the small class to MotoGP.

The precedent, however, has nuances. In 2014, the Australian fought for the title until the end, achieving six victories, ten podiums and eight pole positions to end up as runner-up, losing a tough battle with Alex Márquez .

Binder’s letter of introduction are two podiums, two pole positions and the seventh final position in the 2021 Moto3 championship, as well as a blunder when he knocked down Dennis Foggia in the Algarve, leaving the class title on a platter for the Spanish Pedro Acosta . In his seven seasons in Moto3, the South African has only achieved one victory, at Barcelona 2020, after 117 races.

If sportingly Binder can offer doubts about his level of preparation to face the jump to MotoGP, the rumors about an alleged financial contribution by the rider’s personal sponsors have further inflated those reticence.

Razali, owner of WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Racing, understands the doubts about the viability of the bet. “Of course, criticism is always open when a Moto3 rider comes directly to MotoGP,” says the Malaysian executive. “That’s normal, but we believe in him, we see the potential in Darryn,” he says, not without admitting the dangers of the operation.

“It’s a big risk for us and especially for Darryn. But we have capable and experienced people around him in the team, expert enough to guide him properly”, explains Razali referring to Wilco Zeelenberg , sporting director, and Noè Herrera , who will be his technical chief.

“We will take our time with him, we will not put him under any undue pressure,” says the Malaysian. “The most important thing is to make sure that he progresses well. You never know, this is sport, this is MotoGP, it could surprise everyone.

The new Quartararo?

With Binder’s background it is very easy to doubt his performance, but when Petronas signed Fabio Quartararo in 2019, the Frenchman reached the premier class without having shown his quality in either Moto3 or Moto2. It was with the big bike when the explosion of the ‘Devil’ came, MotoGP champion in 2021.

“It was definitely a big risk,” admits Binder himself when asked about making the jump from Moto3 to MotoGP directly.

“But it’s not about how fast you get there, it’s about how long you stay. When you arrive you want to stay as long as possible, I could never have turned down an offer like this. It has always been my dream to race in MotoGP”, he adds.

Although Miller’s is the clearest precedent, for Binder it is not the only one and he understands that many riders spent only one year in Moto2.

“Miller missed a step, but the circumstances were different. Other riders raced in Moto2 for just one year and have been very strong in MotoGP, I even think of Raúl Fernández . They obviously motivate me. I think I can do it and that I can go fast.”

“My original idea was to stay in Moto3 with Petronas and follow the path, go to Moto2 and then see if I could get to MotoGP. But last year everything changed, they believed in me and gave me this opportunity”, he recalls.

“At no time did I stop to wonder why they were offering it to me, I said ‘thanks, I’m ready!’, so I have to make the most of it. I hope to show that the choice they made was the right one.”

Criticism does not affect him mentally

Binder is no stranger to the doubts that the maneuver has caused, but he is not willing to let the criticism affect him mentally.

“Obviously there are people who think otherwise, but I really don’t care what some people say. I don’t have a mental coach, I don’t really need one, I’m a perfectly happy person and I don’t deal in nonsense. I will face the season like any other. In the end, it is a motorcycle with two wheels”, he takes the iron out of the matter.

“Everyone wants to compete in MotoGP one day. So when an opportunity like that comes your way, how can you turn it down? “It’s the biggest opportunity I’ve ever had in my life and I couldn’t let the train pass, I grabbed it with both hands.”

“I would have been stupid not to have accepted the dream of my life. I have worked for this since I was a child and if someone gives it to you, you must take it and make the most of it”, settles the boy from Potchefstroom before the most important challenge of his career.

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