3223981.0008

The Australian charged from 18th to 12th during some ‘sketchy’ opening laps and believed he was being held up by riders ahead.

But Gardner then joined a number of riders to suffer high front-tyre pressure on Sunday, not helped by the total lack of any prior wet running, costing him places just before the midway stage of the 25 laps.

Worse was to follow when the front-locking caught Gardner out and he became the only DNF of the race on lap 12.

Gardner: ‘I nearly ran into the back of Morbidelli… Scary, but fun’

“I had a good time in the first few laps. It was pretty sketchy though, going down the straight, not seeing absolutely anything,” said the Tech3 KTM rookie.

“There were a few guys who were just shutting off in the middle of the straight and you’re flat-out [behind them]. I nearly ran into the back of Morbidelli. I think Alex as well. I had a few close calls, so it was pretty gnarly. Scary, but fun!

“The bike was feeling really good for the first few laps, but unfortunately the guys miscalculated a bit the front tyre pressure and the thing just spiked to the moon.

“So after quite fast lap times at the beginning the front tyre pressure went to the moon and the thing was locking in a straight line. Then as the guys started to go [away] I was pushing harder and harder to keep up and the thing just [crashed].

“We haven’t had too much experience in the wet and personally it’s not something I’m really on top of the tyre pressures… But it was a shame. If we had the feeling at the beginning of the race, I think we could have had a top ten easily.

“I felt super strong. I don’t know where Aleix finished [11th, after a long lap penalty] but in the first few laps I was like ‘alright, get this guy out of my way!’ And then lap by lap [the tyre pressure issue got worse]. I was pushing harder, tucking the front, just trying to catch up and the thing [went down]. A shame!”

Gardner now heads for his home event at Phillip Island and the last three races of his rookie MotoGP career, before joining WorldSBK in 2023.

“Hopefully we don’t get any mishaps there, I can ride well and we can get a good result,” Gardner said.

Team-mate Raul Fernandez, who battled sickness over the Buriram weekend, took the final point in 15th place.

“I had wished for the rain to come because I was not at my maximum physically, so I was pretty happy when the rain came,” Fernandez said. “I felt good at the beginning of the race but then our pace started to drop and I started losing confidence lap after lap.

“For this I am frustrated because I think that I could have finished in the Top 10.

“The track was getting worse so I had to analyse and decide how to behave to try to at least finish in the points. Anyway, it was good having some battles with Brad Binder, Aprilia riders and we grab one point, which is very positive.”

Fernandez, moving to RNF Aprilia in 2023, is now tied with Gardner on 9 points.

Source link