Less than a year after joining Tech 3, Remy Gardner and Raúl Fernández already know that next season they will not wear the colors of the French team or KTM. Last season’s Moto2 leaders failed to convince the top brass and in the spring Fernández was released to join RNF.
His teammate, on the other hand, was very close to renewing with the French team, but ended up being discarded and will compete next season with an official Yamaha in the WSBK.
Accustomed to being protagonists in Moto2, both have struggled this year, in the best of cases fighting for a few points, and Fernández admitted that he needed to find new challenges to stay motivated. Gardner, for his part, had a bitter break with the brand, which “lacked professionalism” on his part.
Tech3 is about to open a new chapter with the return of Pol Espargaró, a former team and KTM rider, and the arrival of another rider from Moto2, Augusto Fernández, confirmed as the starter at the Aragon GP. Without directly naming his current drivers, Hervé Poncharal hopes that this renewed duo will provide the fresh air that Tech3 needs.
“Life has taught me some lessons,” the team boss told the championship’s official website. “A year ago I was asked what I thought of our 2022 line-up and I said it was a dream line-up. We were very ambitious and thought it was going to be a great season. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned. So I’d rather not talk too much about our expectations for next year.
“Whatever the level of the project, we need people who are committed, who share our philosophy, who are enthusiastic and who join the project because they believe in it, because they like the project and the people. It is very, very important to be together, push all towards the same goal and moving in the same direction. One goal, one vision; we all have to share it together”.
“Of course, we need a good bike, good riders, but above all we need a good atmosphere in the box, with people who believe in the project, who all push and move in the same direction,” Poncharal added to Canal+.
The Frenchman is convinced that the combination of Pol Espargaró, who is retracing his steps after two difficult seasons with Honda, and Augusto Fernández, current Moto2 leader, will bring a positive spirit to the team: “I think that with Pol and Augusto we will have it [ the spirit]. On the other hand, with Jack Miller and Brad Binder [in the factory team], we will have four riders in the Pierer Mobility group who will push the project forward. We have to move the project forward. […] We have a good bike , but if we want it to be even better we need everyone to work in the same direction, and most importantly, with a big smile”.
The change of riders will be accompanied by a change of colours, as the KTMs will wear the GasGas red, owned by the same manufacturer. “It is a new, young and Spanish brand,” Poncharal stressed. “Who better than two Spanish riders to wear the colors of GasGas and be its ambassadors? We have a very balanced team, with the experience of Pol Espargaró and the youth of Augusto Fernández. He is having a great season in Moto2. We cross our fingers for to keep fighting for the title and win the last race in Valencia”.
Pol Espargaró will compete with official material
KTM has stated on several occasions that it sees its partnership with Tech3 as an extension of a factory team , with the Bormes-les-Mimosas-based outfit having the word “factory” in its official name. However, the difficulties of Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona in 2021 and Remy Gardner and Raúl Fernández this season have created a certain gap with the team’s official drivers, Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira.
Poncharal hopes to see a stronger performance in 2023, relying above all on the experience of Pol Espargaró, whom he considers capable of competing with Binder and Miller: “Next year there will clearly be three drivers in the Pierer Mobility group, which includes the brands KTM and GasGas, who will be there to win races, to fight to be at the front, to make the team evolve, and they are Binder, Miller and Pol Espargaró.”
“I hope that Pol will challenge them and that that is his goal. He says he wants to be the captain. He will have to compete with Miller and Binder, but it will be very interesting. We see that there are a lot of changes, a lot of technicians coming from Ducati and from other manufacturers.” .
“The MotoGP project is crucial and hyper-important for the Pierer Mobility Group. We now have the KTM and GasGas brands. We will have three riders with the necessary caliber to win races and fight for the top 5 at the end of the season. This is the Pol’s goal. Augusto’s goal is to win it [the rookie title], but it’s going to be quite easy because he’ll be the only rookie.”
Augusto Fernández plans to benefit from the experience of the three drivers around him in 2022, taking their marks step by step. “[Espargaró] has a lot of experience and has been super fast with the KTM in the past,” recalled the Moto2 leader. “They have a lot of experience in MotoGP in general and there’s also Jack and Brad so it’s going to be an experienced team. I can learn a lot from them so I’m looking forward to it.”
“Obviously I want to beat them, but first I have to learn a lot. It’s a different category, a new displacement, a new bike with new tyres, everything will be new. I have to learn a lot and be patient, but the goal is to beat them in the end.”
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