Binder admits injury has put him "on the back foot"
Moto3 champion Brad Binder says the broken arm he suffered in winter testing has put him "on the back foot" for the early stages of his rookie Moto2 season.
Binder made his Moto2 race debut two weeks ago in Qatar after claiming the Moto3 title last year in his fifth full-time season in the championship.
The South African rider has extended his relationship with the Ajo squad, which has taken Johann Zarco to the last two titles in the intermediate class but is now running KTM's all-new Moto2 project.
But Binder's preparation was severely hindered after he broke his left arm in a crash during testing at Valencia last November, requiring surgery and ruling him out of another test at the same venue in February.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Binder explained the recovery time from his injury took longer than expected, leaving him somewhat under-prepared for his Moto2 debut.
"Obviously I didn't really get a good opportunity to test too much or do the amount of riding or training I wanted to coming into this season, which I feel has really put me on the back foot," he said.
"At the end of the day what can I do, because it's one of those things. [I was supposed to] only lose six weeks, but I ended up losing three months because I had to have a second operation.
"Once you've been chilling for three months it seems like it takes a lot longer than I expected for the muscles to build up, and just to feel normal again."
Binder qualified 22nd for the season opener, and went on to finish 20th - 34 seconds behind race winner Franco Morbidelli and more than 30 behind KTM teammate Miguel Oliveira.
"It was alright, it wasn't terrible, the problem is [the arm is] really weak, and I have a lot of pain braking in all the braking zones," said Binder. "But it seems to be getting a little bit better.
"Another problem I had that it swells up really quickly - as soon as my arm swells up the movement becomes a lot more difficult."
2017 a "learning year"
Binder, however, said his injury doesn't change his outlook for the year, as he always expected the transition to Moto2 to be a difficult one, as is the case for "any rider going to Moto2".
He added: "You want to do the opposite, of course. But I've seen straight away it's not that simple [to be fast as a rookie] by any means.
"I reckon it's going to take a while to get used to it. If you watch any rider going to Moto2, it's taking them a year to make a good step.
"I hope I can do it little bit quicker, but that looks to be hard to be honest. This year is a learning year, I knew that before I signed the contract so I am just taking it as it comes.
"Obviously it sucks being 20th, that's for damn sure, but it's a challenge. It just feels great when you see the small things are coming together, and make small steps forward, and I really enjoy that."
Oliveira "keeps me on my toes"
Without wishing to compare himself to Oliveira, who already has a year of experience in Moto2 under his belt, Binder says he is pleased to have a teammate who forces him to up his own game.
"Miguel has been doing a really good job from the beginning," Binder admitted. "It's nice to have someone to mark myself against.
"It seems to be getting a little bit closer every now and then, but just when I think I'm starting to arrive he steps it up a lot. It's really good for me, it keeps me on my toes and I have learnt a lot from him already."
The 21-year-old however insists that beating the Portuguese rider this season is of little importance: "That's the last concern I have. My biggest concern is try learn as much as I can.
"I have no pressure whatsoever, and we just need to kind of try and build into it. I don't know when the time comes, when I feel strong I'm gonna give it a bash - but for now we will see how it goes."
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