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Gardner feels ‘heartbroken’, ‘deceived’ over KTM MotoGP future

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

MotoGP rookie Remy Gardner says employer KTM has “broken my heart” by telling him he would not be kept on for 2023, with the timing of the decision placing him in a difficult situation.

Gardner appeared a strong contender for much of the season to keep his seat at what is currently Tech3 KTM but will become Gas Gas for 2023. Though the premier class has offered him a steep learning curve – Gardner has scored just nine points so far to lead works rider Brad Binder’s 107 and factory team-mate Miguel Oliveira’s 85 – he has by and large outperformed his wantaway rookie team-mate Raul Fernandez, who will, along with Oliveira, switch to RNF Aprilia next year.

But though the departures of both Fernandez and Oliveira should’ve theoretically shored up Gardner’s place on the grid for 2023 despite KTM bringing in Jack Miller to the works team and Pol Espargaro to Gas Gas, it now seems that his spot will go to KTM’s Moto2 frontrunner Augusto Fernandez.

Gardner said he was informed his services would not be required in 2023 on Saturday at the Austrian Grand Prix.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be honest,” he said. “I’ve always given 100%. And unfortunately I don’t think it was good enough for their standard.

Remy Gardner

“My intention was to stay here and give my best. And honestly, yeah, they’ve broken my heart.”

Though Gardner was expected to be retained, there were long signs his relationship with at least some parts of KTM might not withstand certain outside factors, even though he won the Moto2 title in KTM colours last year.

The Australian was vocal about his desperation to the KTM RC16 package upgraded at several points early in the season, yet more notable was the fact that KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer absolutely excoriated Gardner’s manager Paco Sanchez to the media in May.

“That wasn’t beef with me, that was beef with Paco!” Gardner insisted on Thursday. And indeed, comments from KTM CEO Stefan Pierer to Speedweek just last month indicated that it was Beirer who was fighting Gardner’s corner.

“I’m not quite convinced of Gardner yet. He’s good but he needs a little long in each class,” Pierer said at the time. “Pit Beirer believes in Gardner – I told him, ‘Yes, Pit, we have eight races left this year anyway [to evaluate him further]’.”

Raul Fernandez

Yet the tone changed. A few days ago KTM board member Hubert Trunkenpolz claimed Gardner and Fernandez “both pushed last year for us to promote them to MotoGP” and then “struggled quite a bit”, while Beirer said KTM would never again have two rookies in the Tech3/Gas Gas team.

Gardner, for his part, claimed that the reason he was given for his impending departure from KTM was not results but something else entirely.

“They said I was not professional enough. That was it.” He then said he wasn’t given any specific examples.

He also said this turn of events suggested there is “no appreciation for the world championship I brought them”.

“I think it hasn’t been a disaster, if I’m honest with you,” Gardner said of his season. “If you have a look at the times and everything and how close I’m to the factory guys usually… it’s still my first year. I don’t know, what is it, Miguel’s fourth year in MotoGP?

“I honestly think it was not bad and honestly it was positive vibes from them.

“The feeling was and the impression was, OK, yeah, we’ll continue. And Silverstone [after the summer break] was like, ‘We should continue, and in Austria we’ll get it done’. I don’t know. I’m just as confused as you guys.

Remy Gardner

“They told me extremely late. They’ve really screwed me over here, to be honest, for finding us a seat for next year. It’s left me in a bit of a crappy position.”

Gardner said he had a few offers on the table, seemingly within the MotoGP paddock but not in the premier class, but suggested he has not yet found himself in the right frame of mind to decide where he will go.

“It’s definitely hard to take after fighting so many years – with the injuries and fighting, and with maybe not the best machinery, and I finally managed to actually kick a goal and win a championship. To just have only one year in MotoGP… yeah, it breaks my heart.

“I just feel a little bit deceived by the world of motorcycles at the moment.

“I [do] want to keep racing for sure. I do have a few offers, to stay in this paddock, obviously not in MotoGP. Not sure yet.”

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