JOHANNESBURG – “It’s unbelievable,” a jubilant Brad Binder declared with a Cheshire cat-sized grin on his face.
“It’s insane to think I am the first South African to win a MotoGP race.”
Binder, who turned 25 on Tuesday, had South African social media gushing with praise on Sunday after storming to his debut win in the elite category of motorcycling’s premier racing class at the Czech Republic Grand Prix.
The win rocketed him to fifth place overall in the world championship standings.
“You know,” Binder continued in a recorded interview with Red Bull on Monday, “the South Africans back home are just insane.
“They are huge motorsport fans and sports fans in general, so since I’ve started racing, I feel like the whole country has been behind me. To get the victory was absolutely amazing.”
Binder has enjoyed a steady rise in the sport since making his debut in 2012.
The South African national anthem plays on the #MotoGP podium for the first time 🇿![CDATA]>🇦
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) August 11, 2020
In 2016 he revealed his true talent by winning the Moto3 World Championship, and now, four years later and after a brief and successful stint in Moto2, has once again demonstrated his immense skill and moniker as a future superstar.
Sunday’s victory, in Binder’s rookie season in the MotoGP category, was only his third GP in the elite class.
And the Potchefstroom-born rider’s triumph was one of sustenance and style, taking the Brno circuit by the scruff of the neck to beat out his opponents by an impressive 5.266 second.
It was an unexpected victory, to be sure, but a welcome one for Binder, his family and the country.
“Ja, it was pretty cool I could tell they were happy,” Binder said when asked about the post-race reaction from his mom and dad.
“For my parents there were massive sacrifices behind the scenes. We had some tough times. It was difficult at the beginning and a day like (Sunday) just makes everything fall into place and makes everything worth it.
“I think every person I’ve ever met has given me a message or tried to call me it was awesome.”
Binder also had high praise for his team, Red Bull KTM, who took a gamble when they signed him into their factory team for this season.
— African News Agency (@AfriNewsAgency) August 11, 2020
Said Binder: “I’m super proud of the KTM family.
“It is literally a dream come true. So I think it just shows you that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.
“The guys (at KTM), they put in the max effort in absolutely everything they do and when you have this amount of dedication it’s impossible that you don’t get it right, so I’m super proud of KTM.”
Next up for Binder and KTM is this weekend’s Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg – the home of KTM.
It is a track that Binder is intimately fond of.
Since 2016, he has won the race – in the lower categories of Moto3 and Moto2 – three times and finished second on the other occasion.
The 4.3km track could yet again be a happy hunting ground for Binder after the race on Sunday, which would no doubt help keep that winning smile firmly on his face.