There are two realistic options on the table for the reigning Moto2 world champion, with one of those being a return to the intermediate class. 

Gardner has stated his intention is to return to winning ways so based on that thinking a move to Moto2 could be the better one.

However, are reporting a deal to bring Gardner to WorldSBK with the GRT Yamaha outfit is ‘close’: “At Magny-Cours, where the Superbike World Championship enters the second half of the season this weekend, learned that Gardner is close to signing with Yamaha and will ride for the Giansanti Racing Team (GRT) next year.”

The satellite Yamaha team looks set to have a brand new line-up for 2023 with Garrett Gerloff expected to move to Bonovo Action BMW alongside Loriz Baz, while Kohta Nozane, who has been very underwhelming since leaving the Japanese Superbike Championship, is set for a return to the series. 

Gardner, who is expected to be replaced in MotoGP by Augusto Fernandez, could make a return to the Red Bull KTM Ajo outfit in a bid to fight for a second Moto2 title, but with bridges seemingly burned between the Australian and KTM, that now appears unlikely. 

The other seat at GRT Yamaha could see another former Moto2 rider in Lorenzo Baldassarri move up to the Superbike class, after the Italian has impressed in his rookie WorldSSP campaign. 

Baldassarri is currently in the midst of a tight battle for the championship with Dominque Aegerter - 19 points separate the two riders - while Aegerter is another name hoping to make the move up to WorldSBK in 2023. 

Prior to round seven of the WorldSBK championship at Magny-Cours, reigning world champion Toprak Razgatlioglu also spoke about the possibility of Gardner joining the Yamaha ranks.

The Turkish star said: “Yamaha is not fast like the Ducati but in the corners, it's a very good bike. I think the Yamaha could be good for him."

One MotoGP rider who won’t be moving to Superbikes in 2023 is Takaaki Nakagami after the Japanese rider was retained for another season by LCR Honda.