News 23 Feb 2024

Time is now for Gardner to make an impact in WorldSBK

Former Moto2 world champion embarks on second season in World Superbikes.

Image: Supplied.

As the 2024 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) kicks off this weekend at Phillip Island, the time is now for Remy Gardner to make an impact on the series.

The Australian was axed by KTM in 2022 after just one season in the MotoGP World Championship, which came off the back of being crowned Moto2 world champion for the Austrian manufacturer the year prior.

It prompted a dramatic move to WorldSBK last year despite being in the grand prix paddock for over half a decade, presenting a greater challenge as he transitioned to a new series and environment with the GYTR GRT Yamaha squad, and not to mention familiarising himself with a completely new motorcycle for the second year running.

His rookie campaign yielded mixed results, recording five non-finishes amongst 35 appearances, however with 18 top 10 results culminating in a career-best fourth at the season finale, there’s reason to feel optimistic about the number 87’s prospects in what is a vitally important year for his career.

Securing a contract extension with the GYTR GRT Yamaha outfit for 2024, a sense of familiarity has already proved beneficial for Gardner, wrapping up this week’s official test at the Island ninth in the combined times, setting himself up for a blistering 1m29.755s lap during this morning’s FP1 session for fourth on the timesheets.

Image: Supplied.

“One year with experience, it’s nice to start with not looking for the way to ride the bike,” the 25-year-old explained. “Everything’s a bit more natural, which is nice.”

“I’m quite happy, I think we’re quite ready to go racing. [I want] improvement from last year, and obviously, a podium this year would be nice.”

The newly-resurfaced Phillip Island circuit is set to deliver unpredictable scenes after causing increased tyre degradation during testing, forcing organisers to introduce mandatory pit stops and tyre changes under flag-to-flag rules during races one and two.

A maiden podium in front of a home crowd this weekend would be a fairytale – and somewhat ambitious – start to Gardner’s 2024 push, yet he’s hinted the tweak in race format could be an opportunity to realise his goal.

“Obviously, it’s a nice place to start – home race, the track is amazing – I love it,” Gardner stated. “It’s important we get off to a good start, and hopefully put on a good show for the home fans.

“It’s not going to be easy, there’s a lot of fast guys, but you never know, the race is long, and it looks like it might be a little bit different race format this weekend.”

On the eve of his 26th birthday, it’s more important than ever for Gardner to establish himself as a podium contender and make an impact in WorldSBK. And the time is now.