Gardner defends manager from champ father’s jibe, weighing up WorldSBK?

Remy Gardner comes to the defence of his manager following criticism from title-winning father Wayne Gardner as WorldSBK emerges as a 2023 option

Remy Gardner

Remy Gardner could become the latest rider to enter the fray for a high-profile seat on the WorldSBK Championship grid in 2023 as he mulls options following his acrimonious split with KTM.

The Australian - Moto2 World Champion with KTM-backed Ajo Motorsport last season - is being axed by the Austrian manufacturer after just a single season competing in the premier class with the Tech 3 satellite squad.

This is despite it being one of the few teams with a vacant seat remaining for 2023 when the Tech 3 squad morphs into GASGAS Racing, one of KTM’s sister brands.

As yet, GASGAS Racing has confirmed the signing of Pol Espargaro for 2023 but while Raul Fernandez is confirmed to be heading to RNF Aprilia for next season and a last ditch attempt by KTM to retain Miguel Oliveira fell flat, it has still decided against re-signing Gardner for its available ride.

It has prompted a spat of ill feeling among parties in and around the Gardner camp, with the man himself revealing he was described as ‘not professional enough’, while his father Wayne Gardner - the 1987 500GP World Champion - pointed the finger of blame squarely at manager Paco Sanchez.

Sanchez is understood to have been critical of the Tech 3 Racing team’s competitiveness and also rallied against KTM over the salary it was paying Gardner. However, Gardner has rejected his rather’s criticism, instead speaking out in defence of Sanchez.

“I'm very sorry for what Wayne Gardner said about my manager Paco Sanchez,” Remy wrote on Twitter. “Paco is not responsible for my separation from KTM. 

“I have full confidence in his professionalism and honesty. We will find a new project together and continue to enjoy this sport that I love so much."

Expanding further on this during a media session after Tuesday’s Misano MotoGP test, Gardner is reported by Speedweek as saying:

"He's my dad, I love him, but he's been out of my professional career for a few years. But I'm not going to talk about private things anymore, »Remy made clear. “Paco is my manager, as I said, I have full confidence in him and he has always acted in my best interest. I just wanted to make that clear."

What next for Remy Gardner?

With no MotoGP options available to him, Gardner faces either returning to Moto2 - as another 2010 champion Toni Elias did for a time in 2013 - or exploring options in the WorldSBK Championship.

While Moto2 was considered the favoured option initially - with a move to the new Fantic team considered a likely opportunity - speculation is growing that he could make the transition to WorldSBK instead.

No doubt encouraged by the strong rookie WorldSBK campaign of Honda’s Iker Lecuona - the man he replaced at Tech 3 KTM - as a plus point, Gardner’s name has been mentioned in relation to a Yamaha ride in WorldSBK.

The Japanese firm already has a bevy of talent to consider for multiple seats, with the prime option being a place at the factory-backed GRT team.

As it stands, the Italian satellite hasn’t confirmed either of its riders for 2023 but it is strongly rumoured Garrett Gerloff will defect to Bonovo BMW. Kohta Nozane, meanwhile, is tipped to retain his ride in order to keep a Japanese presence on the grid, despite his average results.

However, while there are also seats at Gil Motorsport - which is said to be considering a second bike for 2023 - and the likely graduation of GMT 94 from the WorldSSP class, Yamaha is already being tasked with the placement of several other riders.

These include WorldSSP Champion Dominique Aegerter, who is pushing hard for a WorldSBK ride, plus 2021 BSB champ Tarran Mackenzie, who preferred to defer his graduation to 2023 on the premise he would land a Yamaha seat after Go Eleven’s plan to change from Ducati machinery fell through.