Newly crowned Moto2 world champion Remy Gardner braved rib pain, a legacy of his Portimao accident, to put in 116 laps for Tech3 KTM at the Jerez MotoGP test.

Gardner had ridden with the rib pain during last weekend's Valencia finale, when he secured the intermediate class crown by four points over team-mate Raul Fernandez.

But the extreme strain of riding a MotoGP bike took its toll.

"I was trying to finish off a good lap and all of a sudden I felt my rib went 'crack' underneath me," Gardner explained at the end of day one. "Anyway, went back out and finished the day off, but I'm in a lot of pain!"

The Australian returned to complete a full program of track action on Friday, remaining 22nd (out of 28 riders) on the timesheets but finding 1.442s to finish just a few hundredths behind Fernandez and 0.2s from top rookie Fabio di Giannantonio (Gresini Ducati).

"I'm still really sore from my ribs from yesterday, and whatever happened there. But apart from that, physically it's not too bad on the bike," Gardner said. "For sure it's more demanding, got some callouses on my hands!"

But the rib issue, which he will have checked this week, meant Gardner was far from riding naturally.

"I'm trying to hold my body in one position so the rib won't move around, or whatever's going on there. On Monday I'll have a scan," he said. "Just trying to brace myself more than anything on the bike at the moment, it's definitely not letting me ride nice and loose and how I'd like.

"It's not the day to be crashing with an injury like that. So I just wanted to finish the year off clean and definitely hope to be loose enough for next year."

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After getting a first taste of MotoGP power alongside Fernandez at the Misano test in September, Gardner had a better idea of what to expect at Jerez. But twisting the RC16's throttle 'never gets old'.

"The straights are very short now," Garnder said. It's very different lines, very different braking points, so everything is new.

"At the moment I'm not actually that much quicker [lap time] than on the Moto2 bike! But it's very different. A lot to learn still and the straights aren't straights anymore, you've got to zig-zag to keep the bike from wheelieing too much.

"You’ve got to try and keep a bit of lean angle down the straight and that helps with the anti-wheelie and all of that. That's why you see all the MotoGP guys doing zig-zags all the time coming down the straights.

"For sure I haven't really got too used to it yet. It's pretty scary how fast they are. It's good fun you know. It never gets old! Opening up the gas and absolutely getting full power in third, fourth, fifth. It's pretty gnarly.

"You definitely arrive at the corners with a lot more speed. I'm still trying to get used to it but I'm sure that'll come with a few more days.

"For all the rookies are off to a slow start, but obviously it's because we don't know what the power's like and a bunch of controls and ride height and blah blah blah. It's a different machine.

"But chassis-wise, suspension-wise, it's still a motorcycle. It's not that bad, honestly. I felt pretty comfortable on it, even if I was quite stiff, and not riding too crazy.

"The bike was doing what I needed it to do, obviously it's going to get a lot harder once you get towards these faster lap times. But as a base, the bike's not bad. I'm quite happy if I'm honest with you."

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Gardner was also asked for his response to surprising comments made by Fernandez in an interview with motorsport.com, in which the Spaniard suggested he was the 'moral' Moto2 champion due to more wins, poles and fastest laps than his team-mate.

In further remarks that will have raised eyebrows at Ajo, KTM and Tech3, Fernandez repeatedly implied that 'stones' or obstacles had been placed in his path by the team.

"I mean, who's the champion?" responded Gardner. "He can think what he thinks, but I think the team gave us both a fair shot at it and the better man won on the track. I don’t know... A bit of bullshit if you ask me!"

Fernandez didn’t want to comment further, but felt he had been misunderstood.

"I prefer not to speak more about that because don’t people understand very well what I want to say. It was a fantastic season. I had an incredible team," he said.

"The people that worked with me were incredible people and I was very lucky with all the people. And now I'm really focussed on MotoGP, I don’t want to speak about my past."

Fernandez's Ajo Moto2 crew chief Noe Herrera, 39, has also moved to MotoGP this season, becoming crew chief for Darryn Binder at RNF Yamaha this season. As well as Fernandez, Herrera previously worked with Danny Kent, Jorge Martin, Brad Binder, Johann Zarco and Miguel Oliveira.