Features 29 May 2024

Fast Thoughts: Remy Gardner

GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK rider on transition from MotoGP.

What is the biggest difference between MotoGP and World Superbike? It’s a question which, depending on who you ask, has a number of different answers, but having competed in both championships, GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK rider Remy Gardner – who recently landed a first podium in the category at Assen – is a man who knows first-hand. Fast Thoughts features his take on the subject midway through his second term on the YZF-R1.

Image: Supplied.

Standout differences in the transition between MotoGP and WorldSBK…

The main difference in the actual characteristics of the bikes is the power and the brake. MotoGP bikes have a good chunk more power, we’re talking maybe 40-50bhp and this is very noticeable and then in MotoGP you run carbon brakes, which are very different in both feeling and power to the more traditional brakes we run on the Superbike. But if being completely honest, the biggest difference to get your head as a rider is probably the tyres. It’s a completely different philosophy. The Pirelli is a tyre which has really good grip in the beginning, but it deteriorates very quickly, so you basically have to nurse it to the end which is an art in itself.

Race strategy in grand prix competition versus production bike racing…

In MotoGP, honestly, you could be pretty much flat out for most of a race and still be pretty strong at the end. There is obviously some level of tyre management in MotoGP, especially at certain circuits, but it’s nothing like it is in World Superbike and that means you have to attack a race in a completely different way. Over one lap, the difference between a MotoGP bike and a Superbike isn’t huge, but over race distance it’s massive. It’s a completely different style of riding, and if I’m honest, it’s taken me some time to get my head around that.

Image: Supplied.

The style of riding that leads to a different type of racing…

I think the rider can ride the bike a little bit more in WorldSBK. In MotoGP, it’s very much you ride X bike, and this is the way you have to ride it, whereas here there is a little bit of that but it’s not quite the same. I’d say MotoGP is more of a technical way of racing compared to Superbike, which is perhaps more racing in the traditional sense? It’s a bit more elbows out, which is both good and bad, but I personally enjoy it!

Progression in WorldSBK so far…

Coming from a different championship last year, there was a lot for me to get my head around. It almost felt like I was starting from scratch, learning everything again as most of what I knew from racing GP bikes didn’t apply here and that meant if we had a bit of a problem, it took a bit longer to work through with the boys in the garage because to me it was all new. But about halfway through last year, we managed to take a big step and from there on, we’ve just gradually got better and better as I’ve started to get a bit more understanding of what is needed here. How I can get the most out of the Yamaha, the Pirelli tyres, the electronics – everything. It feels like we’re just starting to come good, and the podium shows that, but of course, you always want more!