Brad Binder has described MotoGP rival Valentino Rossi as “maybe a bit sensitive” following Rossi’s comments about the KTM man – but admitted these were “normal” given they followed the pair’s second MotoGP run-in.
In the lead-up to the Doha Grand Prix, Petronas Yamaha rider called into question the “respect” shown to series veterans by the current younger generation of MotoGP riders, Rossi made it clear that had taken issue with how Binder passed him in the opening race of the season last weekend.
Binder and Rossi were dicing for position approaching Turn 1 in that race, and when Rossi tried to cover the line he was forced to pick up the bike by the KTM rider’s lunge, dropping back four places.
Rossi described Binder as one of the riders “who ride a lot more hard and don’t care about their rival”.
“So, if you try to close the line, he releases the brake, and if you don’t move, he hits you out of the track,” he said.
Those comments were put to Binder the following day, and the South African was not surprised by seven-time champion Rossi’s reaction.
“I’ve had two moments with him,” Binder recalled. “The one time in Austria we both went completely off the track, so I think the second time it’s normal to get a bit upset.”
Binder was referencing last year’s Austrian Grand Prix, the first race of the Red Bull Ring double-header.
In it, the KTM man was charging from 17th on the grid, and one of his moves – a Turn 9 inside-line pass on Rossi – forced both to the run-off, with Rossi the more affected party as he refused to yield and then had to swiftly check up once Binder washed out slightly wide.
It was vastly overshadowed by Rossi and then team-mate Maverick Vinales’ miraculous escape as Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha threaded the needle between their bikes, but it was obvious post-race that Rossi was not thrilled with Binder’s move.
But as for their second encounter, Binder has made it clear he did not believe he had done anything wrong.
“To be fair, I didn’t touch him, at all,” Binder said. “I think maybe he’s a bit sensitive.
“But other than that, yeah, I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. I went next to him, we started to brake, he released the brake and wanted to close the line, I released the brake too. End of story.”