News 23 Aug 2022

Gardner’s MotoGP future in doubt beyond rookie campaign

Indications suggest exit from Tech3 is all but confirmed for Australian.

Image: Supplied.

The MotoGP future of Tech3 KTM Factory Racing rookie Remy Gardner is in doubt following the increasing likelihood that he will not continue with the team next season.

It was announced at last weekend’s Austrian GP that Herve Poncheral’s outfit would rebrand to GasGas Factory Racing from 2023, and Pol Espargaro would return to the KTM Group and Tech3.

That leaves one seat unannounced for the squad beyond this year, with Gardner’s current teammate Raul Fernandez confirmed to not be continuing with Tech3 next season. The Spaniard informed KTM Motorsport manager Pit Beirer of his departure months prior, at Jerez, and is expected to sign with the RNF Racing team.

After it was clear he would exit from the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team, Miguel Oliveira seemingly had no interest in stepping to Tech3 and was also linked to an RNF deal. However, the recent rebranding of the team to be the exclusive GasGas ‘works’ squad appears to have sparked the desire of the Portuguese rider, affirmed by Beirer who stated: “there’s a chance we keep him.”

Amidst the uncertainty of his future, Gardner delivered one of his strongest weekends of the season to date at Silverstone, round 12, but crashed out during the Austrian GP. He remounted and crossed the line P20.

“In MotoGP, it doesn’t look like there’s anything,” Gardner revealed after a challenging race at the Red Bull Ring. “KTM’s done it again.”

Adding further fuel to the speculation of Gardner’s premier class exit, Remy’s father, Wayne Gardner, tweeted: “It’s hard to believe that after six months in MotoGP, Remy, a world Moto2 champion will not have a competitive seat in the 2023 season.”

The revelation highlights the cut-throat nature of the MotoGP paddock, with Gardner outperforming teammate Fernandez on numerous occasions. However, with the RC16 arguably one of the least competitive platforms in this year’s series, the only other real measuring sticks he has are Oliveira and Brad Binder, who have years of MotoGP experience on the KTM.

Making it harder for the Moto2 world champion to remain in the premier class, no replacement team has been announced to fill the vacant grid slots from Suzuki’s exit at the end of the year, effectively pulling two seats out of the metaphoric game of musical chairs for riders looking to land a MotoGP ride in 2023.