MotoGP Misano Test: Gardner and Fernandez - ‘The power was… wow’

| | MotoGP
Picture: Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

Red Bull KTM used their Misano test to showcase 2022 talent Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez, with the pair blown away by their initial outings on MotoGP machinery.

The Moto2 Championship leading duo were given their premier class introduction at the Adriatic circuit, two months ahead of the typical first outings in Valencia, alongside factory runners Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder and test rider Dani Pedrosa. The new recruits taking over from Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci on Wednesday - as they will when the new season arrives - aboard their respective Red Bull Tech3 RC16’s.

Gardner suffered a slow speed tumble after running off track but still racked up 47 laps around the 4.2km layout while Fernandez’s best lap was just 2.4 seconds shy of the day’s overall quickest after 51 revolutions, sitting him 22nd in the combined standings.

As well as set-up work for the remaining four rounds of the championship and evaluation of components for 2022, Oliveira, in particular, was seen experimenting with alterations to the aerodynamic package throughout his 70 laps on Wednesday. Teammate Binder focussing on prototype options for general set-up as well as the all-important electronics.

“Incredible, honestly. I mean I expected power and strong braking but until you really try it then you don’t know,” Gardner admitted after his first touch with the RC16. “I was going through gears like there was no tomorrow. Even in the last laps it was mind-blowing how fast it was.

“I had a great day and a lot of fun. It was good to get a feel for the bike and to try and understand it. It was a nice little treat for us by KTM. I cannot wait to start for real and I’m looking forward to push the bike next time, trying to find those limits.”

“I’m really happy and thanks to KTM for giving me an opportunity,” Fernandez added. ‘It was an amazing day and incredible to ride that bike. At the beginning there were many new things to think about, like the carbon brakes, but after a while it felt quite easy and I was enjoying it like a kid.

“The power was…wow. I want to start the work for next season as soon as possible even though all my focus is on Moto2 right now. In Valencia we’ll start again.”

“Raul and Remy took the Tech3 RC16s for some laps and it is always super-nice to see when a rider has his first experience with a MotoGP bike,” Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager said of the rookies’ experience. “Their faces when they came back in said a lot! They have never had that power before. The target of the test for them was just to get that taste of MotoGP.

“We’ve used this test to start the stopwatch on ideas for 2022,” he continued, reflecting on the test as a whole.” We tried some items that will not appear this season but to get the first impressions from the riders and also record some data. The next step of course is to get back to the factory and see how we can use the positive comments to improve performance.

“The test was also useful to see what we can do about the rest of 2021. We had a strong part of the season where we were regular podium contenders and then some tougher races recently. So it was important to confirm some of the paths we took and where we can continue to go for the rest of the championship.

“We move to Austin now but, overall, we’re glad to give something back to the factory so they can keep pushing hard to be ready again for 2022.”