Can Gardner take a maiden WorldSBK rostrum at Assen? "Been a long time since I had a podium…"

Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was the lead Yamaha rider on Friday at the TT Circuit Assen with the Australian aiming to take a first MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship rostrum. He’s come close before, with a handful of P4s to his name, but the first podium has remained elusive. With third place on Friday for the Pirelli Dutch Round and strong pace on display, including a long run in FP1, will this be the round for Gardner’s rostrum?

Gardner has shown good pace throughout the 2024 season so far, fighting close to the podium places on home soil at Phillip Island and often competing to be the lead Yamaha in every race so far this season until bad luck dropped him down the order. That continued on Friday at Assen, with Gardner taking third overall after posting a 1’35.827s to lap 0.354s down on Alvaro Bautista’s ( Racing – Ducati) best time of the day, with the #1 topping the times. The field had to deal with rain or a damp track at various points during FP1 and FP2, with Gardner reflecting on what he described as “not easy”.

Reviewing his Friday, Gardner said: “It wasn’t easy. This morning, it was quite patchy, but it wasn’t too bad, there wasn’t much wind. We did a long run on the SC0, 15 laps in total, and the pace was good with the fastest lap coming on the last lap. In FP2, we started with the same tyre condition, stop, and we’d put the SCX in. The feeling was good with the X, and we wanted to do a long run, see if we could get the lap times out of it at the end of the race, but we had some rain, so we stopped. I went back out in the rain and the feeling was quite good. Still some work to do, for me the conditions were a bit tougher this afternoon with the wind. To improve and keep a good pace like that, I was happy.”

Despite his lack of podium so far in WorldSBK, it’s not been through a lack of speed. A lot of bad luck in Australia took him out of contention and towards the end of 2023, he was fighting for the rostrum too. With Yamaha machines often going well at Assen – even without victories to back that up – the 2021 Moto2™ Champion will be hoping he can translate that into a podium charge and claim his first podium since the 2021 Algarve Grand Prix, a race he won on his way to the title.

Discussing his goals for the Dutch Round, Gardner said: “I felt we could’ve challenged, we did challenge, in the Superpole Race at Phillip Island, we definitely could’ve at least fought for a podium. I was feeling very strong. We’ve been fast all year through testing. Montmelo wasn’t the track for our package but even on Sunday we were able to bring home a decent result, so I was happy about that. Here was a good race last year, so I obviously came here with high hopes and we’re off to a good start. Hopefully we can finish the weekend off strongly and it’s been a long time since I’ve had a podium. Definitely looking forward to getting back and trying some Prosecco!”

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