Water under the bridge at GRT Yamaha: Aegerter declares "we’re looking forward" after Gardner’s apology

Monday, 27 February 2023 08:48 GMT

The pair crashed out of the Superpole Race in Australia when in the hunt for what could have been a maiden podium for Aegerter and Gardner

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship had its opening round of the 2023 campaign at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit with the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round starting the season. The Tissot Superpole Race on Sunday provided plenty of drama as several riders battled for the podium, but it was a disaster for GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK as Remy Gardner took out teammate Dominique Aegerter when in the fight for a maiden WorldSBK rostrum visit.

At the start of Lap 5, the halfway point of the race, Aegerter was running in fifth place with local hero Gardner directly behind him. Heading into Turn 4, the right-hand hairpin known as Miller Corner, on Lap 6, Gardner went up the inside as he looked to make progress. The pair collided and both retired from the race, which meant they started Race 2 from tenth and 11th place, with Aegerter ahead, rather than potentially on the first or second rows. Gardner was given a Long Lap Penalty to serve in Race 2 for irresponsible riding by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards.

Discussing the crash at the end of the day’s running, Gardner said: “It’s been a complicated weekend, not just with the races but also the weather. We didn’t expect to have the wet Race 1. We had a good start to the Superpole Race, and I felt quite strong to be honest, but unfortunately I made a mistake at Turn 4 and I went in too deep with the wrong line and collided with Domi. I want to say sorry for that. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken another rider down, so it doesn’t feel good. It was a shame that we lost the grid position for Race 2. It’s something I had to learn with this new format. I think, ultimately, this is what cost us in Race 2 and with the Long Lap Penalty we lost too much time. I tried to comeback, but I destroyed the rear tyre doing this.”

Aegerter also gave his viewpoint, saying: “As a team result, it’s very bad when you get crashed out by your teammate. He came to apologise, and this is racing. For sure, I would prefer both of us to be in the top five that maybe we could’ve achieved at that point. We are still teammates, so we try to work very hard to be closer to the top. It’s okay and we’re looking forward.”

On Saturday, Aegerter impressed in the Tissot Superpole session as he took third place for Race 1, his maiden front row start in WorldSBK, and did top the timesheets for a bit following his lap. His best lap was a 1’29.635s and was set after he smoked his rear tyre up on the exit of Turn 11 and he was 0.235s down on polesitter Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK). Reacting to this, Aegerter said: “It was amazing! For a few seconds, I was in P1 which was crazy! We could manage a good lap and, as you can see from Race 2, starting position is very important. It shows that we have great speed. We tried to keep working like that.”

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