2022 is coming to an end but thoughts are already with 2023 and there’s hype for one famous name joining the WorldSBK line-up next year
As the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is coming to a close, attention is turning to 2023 and the rider line-up is as stacked as ever. One of the biggest names to join the grid is that of 2021 Moto2™ World Champion Remy Gardner, who will switch to the WorldSBK paddock after one season of MotoGP™ action. Gardner’s best result came in the Catalan Grand Prix with 11th, in what has been a tough season, however, fellow countryman and 2022 Grand Prix winner Jack Miller believes that Gardner could be something a bit special in WorldSBK in 2023.
“It’s sad to see Remy leave this paddock but it’s awesome to have another Aussie get a start on a competitive bike in WorldSBK,” began Miller, who won one Grand Prix and took six other podiums in his swansong year with the factory Ducati team. “I love watching WorldSBK, especially with the current three-race format and especially the boys at the front! Hopefully Remy can gel with that bike and get up to speed and we’ll see him battling with the likes of Toprak, Jonny and Alvaro very soon.”
Throughout his Grand Prix career, potential has always been shown by Gardner and in 2021, that potential was matched in the Moto2™ World Championship, when he finished all races inside the top ten, with 12 podiums and five wins enough to give him the title over teammate Raul Fernandez by four points. Both moved up to the Tech 3 KTM team in MotoGP™ for 2022 but both struggled with the RC16 machine, not able to achieve a top ten but also showing enough potential and pace themselves.
Continuing to talk about Gardner, Miller thinks that his style and physique could help his adaptation to World Superbike: “He’s a bigger bloke and I think that having that strength and muscle around the heavier, flexible World Superbike… once he understands what the tyres are like, because they’re a lot softer than what we’re using here but I think he’ll have no qualms with coming to grips with them, I’ll be looking forward to watching him quite closely.
“It’s awesome! Australians have a long-standing history with WorldSBK, with Troy Corser, Troy Bayliss, Chris Vermeulen – I’m definitely missing some – but we’ve had an awesome run there in WorldSBK and it will be awesome to have another top rider with a decent bike going there to hopefully get some decent results.”
Gardner will join the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team, who are no strangers to running at the front of a competitive WorldSBK field. They took a podium in their first ever race in 2019 with Marco Melandri, before in 2020, it was Garrett Gerloff who came good as a rookie, taking podiums in the second half of the season, before taking more podiums in 2021. It’s been tougher in 2022 with one podium so far but the Yamaha YZF-R1 won the World Championship in 2021 and is set to take second overall in 2022, meaning the 24-year-old Australian jumps on a competitive package for his first season of World Superbike action, which will start on his 25th birthday, with Free Practice Friday at the 2023 Australian Round getting underway on the 24th of February.
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