After dominating Moto2™ last year, there were high hopes for the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing duo of Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez coming into 2022. But a troublesome KTM RC16 has meant their start to life in the premier class has been far from fruitful. The pair sit bottom of the MotoGP™ World Championship, with Gardner collecting three points from the opening seven rounds of the year whilst Fernandez is yet to break his MotoGP™ duck.
Last weekend in Le Mans, Gardner was quoted as saying he's seriously considering his premier class future because of the difficulties he's faced this season. Meanwhile, Fernandez has been heavily linked with a move away from KTM. That's lead team boss Herve Poncharal to put out a rallying call to his rookie riders on Wednesday's MotoGP™ Podcast, asking the pair to leave their egos at the door and push forward with the "learning process" all debutants must go through.
"When you are like Remy and Raul in Moto2 last year, finishing first and second, you’re used to winning races, being on the podium, being on the front row," started Poncharal whilst speaking on the Last On The Brakes Podcast. "So, it’s a bit of a shock. They knew it would be difficult but they also think ‘I’m going to do well and I’ll be with the top guys’.
"This is not the case, which is quite difficult for them and for us as well. I always say that a fast rider is a happy rider and a positive rider. My job, as well as my team job, is to keep them positive, to keep them having a strong morale, to keep them believing in themselves and to keep them understanding that P15 or P14 is sometimes a great result. This is not easy to swallow when you're a champion.
"They don't have the pressure to finish in the top five. The only pressure they have is to learn, do as many laps as you can, try not to crash because you need to finish the race and see the checkered flag to have the experience of a race in MotoGP class, which is quite different than the other classes, try to learn with two bikes, try to learn with a lot more people around you.
"This is what you have to do through your rookie season. Sometimes they are too impatient, but I understand. They are young and they are fast. They are chasing glory and in P17 there is not too much glory. It's difficult for them to understand that.
"I think it's good to be impatient, but you need to be not too impatient. There is a learning process. It doesn't matter how good and how talented you are, you have to go through this learning process. If you can't do it, you are going to ‘miss’ your rookie season."
Listen back to the episode with Herve Poncharal by clicking here, and check out past episodes with the likes of Remy Gardner, Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team) and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) whilst you're there.