The young twenty-one Australian won the Moto 2 pole and he did it on the Assen circuit, the same one where his father had an incredible accident more than thirty years ago that almost cost the life of Franco Uncini, the reigning 500 champion at the time. His was also the first pole won by an Australian since Stoner.
It was a very long journey to get here. And we have to think of the fact that he got here thanks to Wayne's efforts.
"Yes, it was definitely a long journey, harder than most people can believe, but here we are, at my first pole. The best tip he gave me? To simply give it my all and have fun, otherwise you end up not wanting to do it anymore."
Were there moments when you lost confidence in reaching these levels?
Yes, there were moments when I questioned everything. The two years with the Tech 3 team and 2017 were a good test for my morale, but I finally got a pole, and I'm happy with the result."
So, do you finally feel rewarded for your commitment?
"Obviously, I'm happy with the result, but it's still only qualifying. My actual goal is to win the race. That would be the real prize."
What did you think when you got the pole?
"I realized it only after having crossed the finish line. Before that, I was only concentrated towards achieving the best possible time. Obviously, my reaction was pure excitement."
And your father's reaction?
"Let's say he's already "celebrating," he said, laughing.
What are your impressions for tomorrow's race?
"It's going to be a long race. I'm starting from a good position and, today, I had a good pace but, of course, we remain focused, and w'll try to refine the last details with the team during the warm up, to fix the errors where needed and to keep the same level today. I hope to start well and create some gap, otherwise I'll still be there in the melee ready to fight."
This is a special circuit for your father, Wayne Gardner, who had that famous accident with Franco Uncini during his debut in the 500 World Championship race. Did he ever talk to you about it?
"He talked to me several times about it. It was his first race in the world championship. It was definitely a hard blow to him. This story resurfaces sometimes."