News 8 Jul 2024

Gardner battles with Zarco, Bradl in MotoGP comeback

P20 the result across both sprint and grand prix on Sachsenring weekend.

Image: Supplied.

Former Moto2 world champion Remy Gardner’s one-off return to MotoGP as a fill-in rider at Monster Energy Yamaha saw him engaged in battle with the likes of Johann Zarco and Stefan Bradl on his way to P20 in Germany.

The GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK team regular – currently seventh in the Motul Superbike World Championship standings – was called up to replace Alex Rins at Sachsenring alongside Fabio Quartararo.

Gardner qualified 22nd and then raced to 20th in Saturday’s sprint, which was the first Saturday MotoGP race of his career, before matching that result in Sunday’s grand prix and importantly providing data to the factory Yamaha team after completing full race distance on the YZR-M1.

“We made a setting change to improve my feeling with the bike,” Gardner reflected. “I felt a difference in warm-up, and I thought we could have a pretty good race. The pace until lap 10 was really good… I was fighting with Zarco and Bradl, trying hunt down [Joan] Mir, and I was in front of Bradl for 8-9 laps, which was good.

“I didn’t know how to manage the tyre drop of the rear tyre over the last 10 laps, but that’s all down to experience. Still, if you compare my pace with the medium rear between yesterday’s sprint and today’s race, today’s pace is much better. Hopefully I gave some good feedback and a different point of view, and hopefully Yamaha can take some positives from that.”

Yamaha’s MotoGP operation will be bolstered in 2025 when the Pramac Racing team transfers across from Ducati to receive factory status at Yamaha, with Gardner’s countryman Jack Miller – P13 on Sunday – understood to be one of the riders shortlisted as a potential candidate for next year.

The German Grand Prix was won by defending two-time MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), joined on the podium by Gresini Racing brothers Marc and Alex Marquez.