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MotoGP Mandalika: Track concerns for Gardner - ‘Turn two starting to rip up’

Tech3’s Remy Gardner kicked his MotoGP career off to a fiery start in Qatar after a last lap tussle and subsequent ‘chat’ with Yamaha’s Darryn Binder.

The KTM rider claimed the final point on offer in the opening race of 2022, with Binder 0.012s behind at the line. While words were said after the flag, both riders remain calm in their approach going forward and understanding of the education in progress.

“I spoke to him after the race,” Gardner said of his fellow premier class rookie. “We had a nice conversation, it was okay. In the end he basically said ‘The bike was riding him more than he was riding the bike’ and I said, ‘Yeah, well, I can see!’


“I just said, ‘Look, just in the future, if you run wide or something, if you can’t ride the bike properly, just go that half a second less’. I think for his sake as well, to build on actually how to go faster, it’s probably a good idea to do that but anyway, should be better. As it was the first race you’ve got to give a little wiggle room so it was okay. It was a good chat so we’re on good terms.

“I think it was quite noble of him to listen as well,” he continued. “I think if someone else did the same, I’d listen to them and honestly, I felt if I did something wrong, I would apologise in the end as well. I think it’s just about having that mutual respect for everyone and I’m sure if I did the same to him, I’d keep my ears open and to try to learn. It’s the first race, first for him on a GP bike, first race for me as well so it’s understandable. We didn’t argue, it was just like a quick conversation that was it. No hard feelings and I’m sure it’s the same way back.”

Round two sees the paddock return to Indonesia and the Mandalika International Street Circuit, just five weeks after preseason testing. Mid-March, however, brings increasing temperatures and a refreshed surface after issues were raised over the conditions at the close of the three-day test.

“I haven’t gone round, it’s too hot!” Gardner admitted when asked his thoughts on the new asphalt. “I haven’t done a lap, but I asked some other guys that have been doing laps and they came back absolutely drenched!

“The asphalt looks good, but I heard that it looks like turn two is already starting to rip up a little bit. So we’ll see how that evolves over the weekend but should be better. I mean they put in a lot of work so hopefully it should be better.”

The track surface isn’t the only thing that needs analysing this weekend. With the Australian still recovering from wrist surgery after a January training incident, and one race now under his belt, the improvement is clear but the progress is far from complete.

“The wrist is for sure a little bit better than Qatar again but it’s not perfect yet,” Gardner confirmed. “Honestly, it’s going slower than I expected to get back 100 per cent. I’m sure jumping on a GP bike less than two weeks after surgery probably didn’t help it but it’s definitely a little better step than Qatar. Now I feel it’s just really time, this could take honestly six months before it’s perfect. It’s good enough just to ride at the moment and I’m sure every races it’ll get better.

“I think we should be better than the test and also with this new surface, hopefully we’ve got a bit more options than just one metre wide line,” he said turning his attention to the race weekend. “Obviously, after racking up experience after one race weekend, the idea is to really improve on what we learned in the first race, which was a lot.

“My goal was to finish in Qatar, to get as much experience as possible. The bike’s feeling a bit more normal, every time I get on it, doesn’t feel as fast anymore. Still feels fast, but not as fast.

“I think it’s just step by step. Every race it’s just a bit of experience in the pocket and I think it’s the same thing here. There’s different things to take into consideration like the heat, the track, and how to manage tyres I think will be important this weekend, so another lesson for sure.”

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