Gardner expecting tough MotoGP pre-season with fractured wrist
Monday 31st January, 2022 - 9:31am
KTM rookie Remy Gardner expects pre-season MotoGP testing to be tough due to the fractured wrist which he is carrying as a result of a recent motocross incident.
The Australian is set to saddle up for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing when the Shakedown Test starts today at the Sepang International Circuit, his first of as many as eight days on his RC16 before the Qatar Grand Prix.
After finishing his championship-winning Moto2 campaign with broken ribs, Gardner now has to contend with a broken wrist, which he will attempt to manage during testing.
“It’s not going to be easy; it was only 13 days ago that I got the operation,” he said on the eve of his first running on a MotoGP bike at the Malaysian Grand Prix venue.
“I’ve been trying to do as much physio as possible to get ready. It’s going to be hard, but we’re going to try and maybe do short runs.
“We’ve got lots of days, lots of testing. We don’t want to do any more damage and make it worse for the future.
“We’ll take it as it comes and just see how I feel first on the bike. We’re going to try for sure.”
Gardner is not the only rider who had been in at least some level of doubt for pre-season, with Marc Marquez having been out of action since before the second-last round of 2021.
The six-time premier class world champion has finally been cleared to ride a MotoGP bike again after sustaining concussion and vision problems when he crashed a motocross bike on the weekend between the Emilia Romagna and Algarve Grands Prix.
Gardner, on the other hand, has now revealed that he did not even fall at all, but rather simply got his wrist caught in an awkward position when he landed off a jump.
“I was just riding some motocross, trying to do my training and get prepared,” recalled the Sydney native.
“Basically, I didn’t crash; as I came down [from a jump] on the front of the bike a little bit more, I just bottomed the forks, because I ran them quite soft.
“I just had my wrist in a bit of a weird position when it bottomed and I just felt it ‘crack’ as soon as it hit the bottom. I moved [the wrist] around and, ‘Oh f**k, that’s broken.’
“So, not good! Anyway, shit happens!
“It’s the radius bone,” he added.
“The big one basically; just the end of it.
“It’s pretty much a straight break, really clean and just the tip has kind of broken off. Didn’t displace or anything.
“So basically they’ve just gone in and put two screws in sideways to fix it in place. In theory nothing can move but still all the soft tissue and everything is still quite tender.
“Even my forearm, because it did swell up quite a lot and there was a lot of stress around that area.”
He was less cautious in wrapping up the Moto2 title last year, after the coming-together with Marcos Ramirez in Friday practice at Portimao.
Gardner gritted his teeth with sore ribs for the final two races of the season, the former of which he won, and then again in testing at Jerez.
It was only after that post-season outing that he discovered the extent of the injury.
“The ribs happened in the crash at Portimao on Friday; I didn’t actually get any scans done until after the [MotoGP] testing,” recounted the 23-year-old.
“I honestly didn’t really want to know! I just wanted to put it out of my brain.
“Then riding the MotoGP bike, I think pretty much the second or third exit, I was changing direction and once again it just went ‘bang’ and something cracked again – took my breath away – that was on the first day.
“So, the ribs were really sore and then on Monday after the test I went to get a CT scan and I had the 10th and 11th rib completely broken.
“So, that was from Portugal, and then basically raced Portugal, won, raced Valencia, plus the testing with two broken ribs.
“Luckily, they weren’t displaced, but they were broken.”
Gardner said after that Jerez test that he found his KTM’s electronics to be a little too interfering, with his preference being to slide the rear of his bike more.
That is something his crew will revisit at Sepang.
“The bike will be pretty much the same as we tried in Jerez,” explained #87.
“I quite liked it to be honest so I’m not too fussed.
“There’s a few things to try. I think the test team are doing more parts trial-and-error these days than us. I think it’s more we get to grips with the bike, wake up a little bit.
“I personally felt we needed to work a lot on the electronics from last test and so I gave the guys lots of homework over the winter to come prepared with some new stuff with traction control and a few things like that. And honestly more than anything, see how I feel on the bike.
“There’s a lot to learn but every time you get on the big bike you start to relax a bit more, get a bit looser and everything flows a bit better.”
KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa will also be in action at the Shakedown Test, and is set to have a greater presence at grands prix this year, including as something of a coach for Gardner and Tech3 team-mate Raul Fernandez.
Those three, in addition to the rest of the rookies, test riders, and sole concession manufacturer Aprilia, are set to cut laps from today, with the rest of the field then taking to Sepang for the first Official Test from February 5.