Rookies Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez Experience First MotoGP Race in #QatarGP
The day we had all been waiting for has finally come today as racing came back for what is set to be a 2022 MotoGP™ season full of surprises and emotions. Sun down, lights on, the Grand Prix of Qatar went underway at 18:00 local time at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Starting from the twenty-second position on the grid for his debuts in the MotoGP™ class, Moto2 World Champion Remy Gardner took a decent start that allowed him to stay close to the main group straight away, and make some important overtakes that got him close to the top 15. Here in Doha, it was key to save tyres for the final laps, and Remy was able to maintain a regular pace within the 1’56 throughout the race, a strategy that paid off towards the end as he passed the final line in P15 ahead of Darren Binder, by 0.012 seconds. The Australian grabs his first point in the MotoGP™ class on his first race, a very encouraging result for the rookie of the day.
Alongside him on the grid, Spaniard Raul Fernandez discovered the emotions of riding alongside world class riders when lights went off in the night. The main target today was to take the experience of a race and be able to hold it until the end, which is exactly what Raul accomplished today by finishing in 18th position. He registered his fastest lap in 1’55.954 on lap 9, and was able to maintain consistency throughout the race, until the final laps.
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing takes positivity out of this opening round as we go home with an important point. Our two riders took the experience of a complete MotoGP™ race, and will be learning from it before heading to Indonesia for the second round of the season. The Pertamina Mandalika Circuit is a layout they both know after the preseason tests, so they will go there with confidence and a good base of work.
“Although it is not where we want to be, it is nice to be getting a MotoGP point. I felt good and fast during the first half of the race. However, I was expecting a bit more speed from the bike and found myself struggling to overtake during the first laps.
At one point, I felt capable of catching Maverick Viñales and Andrea Dovizioso, but I had Darren Binder in front of me and I could not get past him. He is coming from the Moto3 class, so he was all over the place, coming back on line without looking, he was wide. It was a disaster and I lost the group. I am hoping to catch up with him to discuss this.
Brad Binder did a podium today, so we need to look at his data and what he did in order to help us improve and go faster. It is a great result. Anyway, we finished the race today and we will take experience from it when heading to Mandalika.”
“The weekend was difficult in general. Today in the race, all rookies battled in the same group, which is a signal that this track is very difficult for us if you don’t come here to do the preseason tests.
We did a good job this weekend, but I did not have a great feeling. We will analyse the data when we are more calm. Today, my biggest learning was managing the tires for a race duration. I gained a lot of experience and it is important to me.
Brad Binder reaching the podium today is really important to me because it means that the bike can perform and we have a reference to follow in order to get close to it as soon as possible.”