Gardner to work with Viñales’ title-winning crew chief at KTM
Wednesday 22nd September, 2021 - 11:12am
Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez will work with a former Maverick Viñales crew chief in Esteban Garcia when they step up to MotoGP with Tech3 KTM Factory Racing in 2022.
The two Spaniards won the Moto3 world championship together in 2013, and were reunited in the premier class in 2019 at Monster Energy Yamaha in a move instigated by Viñales.
Yamaha and Garcia parted ways earlier this year but, rather than leading to a lasting boost to Viñales’ form, the decision seemingly only further exacerbated the relationship between rider and team before it broke completely.
Having been Bradley Smith’s crew chief at Red Bull KTM before his most recent stint with Viñales, Garcia’s latest appointment takes him back to the Austrian marque.
He will act as something of a liaison between KTM and its rookies at Tech3, which it treats as an extension of its factory team.
“Basically, this will start next year,” Garcia explained on the television world feed at the San Marino Grand Prix.
“Now [during the race event at Misano], I’m basically playing around, looking, taking some notes…
“But basically, I will try to put my experience and all my thought to improve in general KTM, to support all the new riders and the crew, and trying to make better communication between the factory and the new riders.
“At the end, KTM is a big family and they want to make their satellite team similar or same, like the factory team.”
In Gardner and Fernandez, who will both step up from Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Moto2 squad at season’s end, Garcia will find two riders who he is already fairly familiar with.
“Basically, I know very well, Remy and Raul,” he added.
“Raul is my neighbour, basically, in Madrid, and he start also when he was young in Moto3 with us.
“Also, Remy was riding with us in Moto3, I know very well him and his family, and for sure we will have a fan for next year because these two guys are quite fast and very, very good person.”
Garcia is set to work with Gardner and Fernandez over the next 24 hours, given they will ride a MotoGP bike for the first time on the latter day of the ongoing MotoGP test at Misano.
Both riders are treating the outing, lasting half a day for each, as something of a reward for their efforts in dominating Moto2 rather than anything too serious right now.
“We’ve only got half a day, so we’ll just try the bike and have a bit of a play with it,” explained Gardner when asked by Speedcafe.com what he wanted to get out of the test.
“But that’s it; just get a taste for the end of the year, so it’s nothing serious on Wednesday.”
Fernandez added, “For me, the MotoGP day is like a bit of candy.
“We will have focus especially in America [next round]. We will try the MotoGP and on Thursday, we can say that we tried the MotoGP bike.”
Fernandez has won the last two Moto2 races despite carrying a broken right hand through them, but Gardner still leads the championship, by 34 points.
The Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia is fastest so far at the Misano test, having won the premier class grand prix two days prior.