Tech3 boss tells ‘impatient’ Gardner, Fernandez to temper expectations

Remy Gardner

Tech3 KTM boss Herve Poncharal has told his “impatient” MotoGP rookies Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez to revise their expectations, amid tension within the ranks.

Gardner and Fernandez collectively dominated the 2021 Moto2 season, as team-mates at the Red Bull KTM Ajo outfit which is the Austrian manufacturer’s standard pathway to the premier class.

The former won the championship, and five grands prix along the way, while the latter finished runner-up in the standings with eight race victories.

However, both have struggled in their first season in the premier class.

Gardner has three points to his name, thanks to finishes of 15th in Qatar and 14th in Portugal, while his younger team-mate is still yet to score, and only just recovering from a hand injury after crashing in qualifying at Portimao.

That has left them ahead of only the wildcards/injury replacements in the standings, and behind the other three rookies in the field.

Gardner even stated at the recent French Grand Prix that he would be willing to move to the Superbike World Championship if KTM does not want him, and is “not enjoying my life right now”.

That led Poncharal to quip, during a broader discussion about the competitiveness in MotoGP in the championship’s Last On The Brakes Podcast, “If there [are] no bad seats, please have a word with my riders.”

Expanding on the situation at Tech3 KTM Factory Racing, the Frenchman said his riders have unrealistic/excessive expectations about what they should be achieving in their first season in the premier class.

“When you are like Remy and Raul in Moto2 last year, finishing first and second, you’re used to winning races, being on the podium, being on the front row,” he noted.

“So, it’s a bit of a shock. They knew it would be difficult but they also think ‘I’m going to do well and I’ll be with the top guys’.

“This is not the case, which is quite difficult for them and for us as well.

“I always say that a fast rider is a happy rider and a positive rider. My job, as well as my team job, is to keep them positive, to keep them having a strong morale, to keep them believing in themselves and to keep them understanding that P15 or P14 is sometimes a great result. This is not easy to swallow when you’re a champion.

Raul Fernandez

“They don’t have the pressure to finish in the top five. The only pressure they have is to learn, do as many laps as you can, try not to crash.

“Because you need to finish the race and see the chequered flag to have the experience of a race in MotoGP class – which is quite different than the other classes – try to learn with two bikes, try to learn with a lot more people around you…

“This is what you have to do through your rookie season.

“Sometimes they are too impatient, but I understand. They are young and they are fast. They are chasing glory and in P17 there is not too much glory. It’s difficult for them to understand that.

“I think it’s good to be impatient, but you need to be not too impatient. There is a learning process.

“It doesn’t matter how good and how talented you are, you have to go through this learning process. If you can’t do it, you are going to ‘miss’ your rookie season.”

On top of Gardner’s WorldSBK comment, Fernandez is thought to be agitating for a move away from Tech3/KTM, with the manufacturer in talks with Jack Miller about riding for one of its teams next season.

In more immediate matters, Tech3 has advised that Fernandez is expected to be back at full fitness for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, for which practice begins on Friday evening (AEST).

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]