Gardner: ‘A long time since I’ve taken another rider down, doesn’t feel good’

Remy Gardner apologies to teammate Dominique Aegerter after a mistake under braking at turn four cost the two WorldSBK rookies a potential double top five for GRT Yamaha.
Remy Gardner, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Phillip Island 2023
Remy Gardner, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Phillip Island 2023

After a difficult Race 1 in wet conditions, Gardner and Aegerter came to life during the WorldSBK Superpole Race as they began to challenge for a top five result.

Following a move on Jonathan Rea for fifth, Aegerter was positioned behind the leading quartet of Alvaro Bautista, Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Alex Lowes, before contact was made by Gardner on his inside.

Sorry for his mistake which led to both riders hitting the deck and failing to restart, Gardner said: "It’s been a complicated weekend, not just for the races, but because of the weather. We didn’t expect to have a wet race in Race 1 and I struggled a lot in the wet yesterday. 

"I was hoping for dry [conditions] today and we had a good start to the Superpole Race and I felt quite strong to be honest. But then I made a mistake in turn four and went in too deep and made contact with Domi. 

"I would like to apologise for that. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken another rider down. It doesn’t feel good, but anyway. It was a shame that we lost a good position for the race and it’s something I had to learn with this new format. 

"Ultimately , this is what cost us in the main race and with the Long Lap as well we lost too much time. I tried to come back but I destroyed the rear tyre."

While Gardner struggled to recover from his Long Lap penalty, Aegerter made impressive progress late on in Race 2, so much so, the two-time WorldSSP champion got past Rea on the final lap.  

Dominique Aegerter Australian WorldSBK, 24 February
Dominique Aegerter Australian WorldSBK, 24 February

"It was an emotional weekend, starting, of course, with the amazing Superpole session where I qualified on the front row," added Aegerter when analysing his first weekend as a Superbike rider. 

"Today we had dry conditions and were confident we had a good pace; unfortunately, in the Superpole Race, I was taken out while fighting for a top position. That’s racing; these things happen, and we move on. 

"It wasn’t easy to start from 10th in the last race, but we still managed to make a good recovery. We learned a lot, and the team worked well this weekend.  We are ready for Indonesia, where we hope to be fast once again."

Although Aegerter managed to claim P7, a better starting position could have seen him fight for P5.

But despite the incident with Gardner which cost him dearly, the Swiss rider was keen to sweep it under the rug so that both riders can help take GRT closer to the front of the field.

Aegerter said: "As a team result it’s very bad when you crash out because of your teammate. He came to apologise and this is racing. For sure, I would prefer that we were both in the top five which we could achieve. 

"We are still teammates so we will work hard to be more close to the top. It’s okay."

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