Gardner: ‘There is room for a good result’, Fernandez to make return at Le Mans

Will Le Mans be the turning point for Remy Gardner - MotoGP rookie believes Tech 3 KTM’s home round should suit the bike more than previous rounds.
Remy Gardner, KTM MotoGP Jerez
Remy Gardner, KTM MotoGP Jerez

The Australian has scored points on just two occasions this season (Qatar and Portimao), although that’s already better than team-mate Raul Fernandez who is yet to finish inside the top 15. 

The last round in Jerez saw Gardner finish 20th, and while it was a disappointing race for the Moto2 champion, early contact with Alex Marquez was a big reason for the lack of pace. 

The KTM rider lost his front-left wing which caused a significant loss of downforce, in fact, Gardner called the bike ‘unrideable’ when in that state. 

Aside from struggling in left-hand corners, unusual wheelieing became a problem too: "It was wheelieing everywhere but not like a straight wheelie, it would kind of tilt the bike as well and really pull to the right."

With Jerez behind him, Gardner believes there’s ‘room for a good result’ in Le Mans

Gardner’s last two visits to Le Mans have yielded second place finishes, and although such a result is very unlikely this weekend, the French round is one where a season-best MotoGP finish could be on the cards.  

"We are heading to Le Mans for the French Grand Prix with a few points to improve following the test day in Jerez," said Gardner. 

Remy Gardner, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May
Remy Gardner, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May

"I am hoping that the layout will suit the bike better, so if we manage to take some steps, there is room for a good result. I am really looking forward to getting back to the action on Friday in France, my team’s home Grand Prix." 

What to expect from fellow MotoGP rookie Fernandez? 

A big talking point in Jerez was the absence of Fernandez who continues to look displeased with being at Tech 3 KTM. 

The Spaniard made it no secret that he wanted to join the premier class with Yamaha, a switch he remains committed to making, however, such a move failed to materialise which seems to be lingering into this season. 

Fernandez has looked like a shadow of the rider that took the championship fight to Gardner as a Moto2 rookie, while also winning the most amount of races. 

Bizarrely, Fernandez was seen riding a scooter around the paddock at Jerez, whilst at times moving without a cast or bandage on his injured hand, therefore raising concerns as to how bad the injury really was. 

Fernandez has since confirmed his return to action for this weekend, so what are the chances of him scoring points for the first time? 

Fernandez has been close on occasion as he finished 16th in Argentina and 17th in Indonesia, but a lack of consistency and struggles in qualifying have proved difficult to overcome. 

Raul Fernandez, Portuguese MotoGP, 23 April
Raul Fernandez, Portuguese MotoGP, 23 April

Should that get resolved, then it’s only a matter of time before he scores points. The Spaniard won at Le Mans last season which was the second of his eight wins in Moto2. 

Turning his attention to the weekend, Fernandez said: "Before everything, I would like to say a big thank you to all the team at Clinica Luis Banos who helped me with my hand. They did a great job to allow me to be ready at 100% for the French Grand Prix. 

"I feel so much better, I am optimistic and ready to get back to racing after two weekends out. In addition, Le Mans is the home Grand Prix for my team, so I really want to race there. I have good memories from the past season, so let’s see what we can do!"

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