Darryn Binder will jump directly from Moto3 to MotoGP to join Andrea Dovizioso in a brand new RNF Racing team on the 2022 grid, The Race can reveal.
The news – officially announced later on Thursday – marks the end of a convoluted process of reorganising the former Petronas Yamaha SRT team following the departure of previous title sponsor Petronas and something of a palace coup in the aftermath, as team principal Razlan Razali secured the team’s grid spot from his previous employer the Sepang International Circuit.
Darryn Binder was one of the first names linked to the team back when it was still under the previous management of Johan Stigefelt, with the squad’s lightweight class rider managing to force the team’s hand in honouring his Moto2 contract when it folded its squad in that class.
However, since then – and with an increasing role from Yamaha – a number of other names were linked to the seat alongside Dovizioso. Chief among them were both of the team’s current Moto2 riders, Jake Dixon and Xavi Vierge, with Dixon (pictured below) even getting the chance to ride the bike for two rounds at Silverstone and Aragon as a trial.
There has also been speculation lately that the delay in announcing the news would reopen the door to World Superbike championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu. The Turk previously stated that he would only consider a switch when he won that championship; something he looks set to wrap up in the coming weeks, thanks to a healthy lead over Jonathan Rea with only one round remaining.
Yet instead it will be Binder who makes the move up – an unusual decision given the South African rider’s relative lack of experience on large capacity machinery and his somewhat mediocre results so far in 2021. He will become only the second rider in history to move directly from Moto3 to MotoGP, following in the footsteps of Australian Jack Miller, who made the jump in 2015.
He will, as already confirmed, join Dovizioso in the squad thanks to the veteran Italian’s year-and-a-half deal directly with Yamaha that has already seen him return from a nine-month sabbatical from the series to replace Franco Morbidelli after he, in turn, was shuffled up to the factory team in the aftermath of Maverick Vinales’ dramatic Aprilia move.