Sunday, July 14, 2024

Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Gardner: The ‘unexpected’ MotoGP job interview facing a KTM outcast

Remy Gardner faced a lot of scrutiny through his grand prix career as he worked his way up the MotoGP ladder, as being the son of 1987 500cc world champion Wayne Gardner created expectation.

Joining Aki Ajo’s king-making KTM-backed Moto2 squad for 2021 elevated Gardner to a new competitive level that would see him fend off highly-rated team-mate Raul Fernandez for the title.

Both riders were promoted to MotoGP in 2022 with the Tech3 KTM squad. And it was a disaster. The RC16 was a difficult bike for the rookies to get to grips with, the pair scoring 14 and 13 points in 22nd and 23rd in the standings – Fernandez edging ahead in that battle.

Fernandez was able to extricate himself from his KTM deal to join Aprilia with the RNF squad for 2023. Gardner, however, was told mid-season he would not be continuing with KTM beyond 2022.

At the time, he told Autosport: “What I was told is that I’m not professional enough. No explanation [from KTM]. I have done a lot of the hard yards, I’ve had some pretty tough years, injuries and everything coming back. But yeah, it’s just kind of never seems like it was enough.”

This was denied by KTM publicly, but it seems that his manager Paco Sanchez was told by the company’s road racing vice president Jens Haibach that Gardner’s unprofessionalism was to blame. There were some suggestions that both rider and manager’s open criticism of the RC16 played a factor. Wayne Gardner took to social media to blame Sanchez, while Remy defended him.

Remy Gardner, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

It was a bitter episode that ended with Gardner moving to World Superbikes with Yamaha. Finding top eight consistency in the second half of his first campaign, Gardner scored a maiden podium at Assen this year and is just 22 points behind top Yamaha runner Andrea Locatelli in a tight battle for fifth in the WSBK standings.

This was enough for Yamaha to give the Australian a call last Sunday while he was out riding motorcross about replacing the injured Alex Rins in this weekend’s German Grand Prix.

“I mean, honestly, I was never expecting to come back riding a GP bike again,” Gardner said on Thursday at the Sachsenring. “But it’s always nice to come back, riding these amazing machines.

“For sure it’s not going to be easy, that’s understandable. I only get one day on the bike before going into the first race on Saturday. It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully I can make the most of it and every lap, every session learn and improve.

“I think just enjoy it more than anything. I’m just curious to see how far the bikes have come over the last few years because they seem to be going faster every time.”

Remy Gardner, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

Remy Gardner, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Gardner revealed that acting as a MotoGP injury replacement was never discussed with him before.

And it is perfectly timed. While not much is expected of the 26-year-old, his MotoGP return comes just a week after Yamaha announced it would be partnering with Pramac from the 2025 season.

This has created two factory Yamaha rides on the grid, with Gardner’s Germany outing potentially a surprise job interview – not that he’s focusing much on this for now.

“I guess you could say that the stars are kind of aligning,” he replied when asked if the Pramac news is something that was on his mind when he agreed to race this weekend.

“But, honestly, I’m not thinking about it. There is no offer there at the moment. I’m not even thinking about it, just get the job done here and enjoy it. The main focus is having a strong Superbike championship and see where it goes from there.”

Pramac and Yamaha have a number of good options on the table for the two satellite M1s next year, so Gardner is not likely to be top of the list. But an opportunity has presented itself and the Australian may find his career suddenly veering towards an unlikely MotoGP return.

Given no time to prove himself in his brutal sole campaign with KTM in 2022, a second chance with Yamaha at Pramac in 2025 would be a well-deserved reprieve for a quality rider who deserved better.

Read Also:

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Popular Articles