French MotoGP ‘not far from disaster’ for Gardner’s Tech3

Remy Gardner (#87), Andrea Dovizioso (#04), and Raul Fernandez (#25)

Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal admits their French MotoGP weekend was “not far from the disaster” after Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez both failed to make the chequered flag.

Gardner was out of the Le Mans race after little more than three laps, the 2021 Moto2 world champion reporting that he had been squeezed by fellow rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Ducati).

Fernandez got four laps further into the 27-lap contest, but had no one else to blame when he dropped his KTM, in his first round back since a hand injury kept him out of the Portuguese and Spanish races.

Hopes of championship points had appeared grim before lights out anyway, given they had qualified 22nd and 24th respectively, in a field of 24 bikes.

In fact, Gardner even quipped on the Saturday evening (local time) that “If a f###ing tornado wants to rip up the track and we go home early, that’ll be good.”

Poncharal was somewhat more reserved after the race, and drew attention to the fact that his Sydney-born rider had climbed to 16th, one position outside the points, before his incident.

However, the usually jovial team manager still could not hide his disappointment.

“Unfortunately, for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing, it was a weekend to forget,” conceded Poncharal.

“Both our riders crashed early stages in the race. We are not far from the disaster because it is not very often that both riders crash.

“It is a shame because I think that Remy Gardner was doing a good job as he was in P16 when he crashed, and it was one of his best starts since the beginning of the year.

“This weekend was rather positive for him as both his feeling on the bike and his lap times improved.

“Raul Fernandez was back from his nasty wrist injury and still felt a lot of pain riding his bike, but he still wanted to race.

“He felt good today but was too ambitious when trying to catch the other riders and he ended up crashing.”

Gardner stated, “It was a very difficult weekend for us here at the French Grand Prix.

“We struggled to find a good pace or the right settings on Friday and Saturday, but today it seemed that we had managed to make a little step.

“Fabio Di Giannantonio closed the door under my nose, I did a highside, and retired unfortunately.”

Gardner is 23rd in the championship on three points, while Fernandez is still yet to score.

The latter has been tipped to leave Tech3/KTM at the end of the year, as part of speculation in Italian media that Ducati’s Jack Miller could join his compatriot at the French team.

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