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MotoGP, Gardner: "My Dad's 500? So difficult to compare now the GP bike with the 500s!"

VIDEO: The son of the great Wayne, world champion with Rothmans Honda in 1987, talks about his life in Europe, his father's initial 'no' to his decision to race and explains why he speaks perfect Spanish

MotoGP, Gardner: "My Dad's 500? So difficult to compare now the GP bike with the 500s!"
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Who knows when was the last time we interviewed Wayne Gardner. We don’t remember it, although we cannot forget that on the day of the announcement of his retirement, in Donington, in 1992, he cried. Bursting into tears like that of the day we saw him for the first time. Assen 1983: how could we ever forget it?

We were at the hospital in Groningen, in the Netherlands and Wayne, making his debut in 500 with a Honda Britain three-cylinder Honda, had just innocently run over our very own Franco Uncini. He had hardly been injured but he was sitting on the ground, waiting to be looked at. And he was crying. It wasn't the debut he expected.

So at Sepang, finding ourselves in front of Remy, another generation of Gardners, another world champion, we are excited. Like when we hugged Kenny Roberts under the podium that made Kenny Junior world champion with Suzuki.

One generation leaves, another generation arrives and the world championship is always there.

Remy, it’s a big emotion for me because the last time I did an interview with a Gardner was many years ago. It means that the apple did not fall far from the tree... Congratulations for the World title and I would like to know how it all started. How did it happen with your father Wayne, when you said you wanted to race…

"I started in the world championship in 2015, but there were many years before then. I started riding around 4 or 5 years old, just with minibikes, for fun. It was me who wanted a motorbike, nobody pushed me. At 9 I pushed my dad to go racing motocross, and it was no, no, no, but in the end, he said to me: you can try. But he said: no motocross, it's too dangerous (laughter). So I started racing dirt track in Australia and step by step we became more serious, I won a title in dirt track and after that I tried road racing. The rest is history "

Being the son of Wayne was it easier or more difficult for you?

"It’s positive and negative as well. The positive is that he taught me everything when I was a younger boy, he had a lot of information and I was able to make the progression quite fast. On the negative side I found closing doors sometimes, and people think it’s so easy for him".

This year you will be on a more powerful bike than the old Honda 500. Wayne tested Stoner's Ducati in 2007. Did Wayne ask you anything after your first MotoGP test in Jerez? And what was it like going from Moto2 to MotoGP?

"Yeah, he said: is it fast? And I said, yeah, it’s fast. And he said: how much horsepower, 230/240? And I said: no it is 300! And he said: ah OK, it's a different bike than before! There are a lot of different things, I think it’s so difficult to compare now the GP bike with the 500. "

Some former MotoGP riders would like to try the old two-strokes. Is it also your desire?

“I've tried the 500s already, at Silverstone, Kenny Roberts Junior's Suzuki. It wasn't so bad, easier than I expected. I expected it to be more violent, but it wasn't so fast."

Not bad! Learning that a 500 isn't very fast is a surprise for me ...

"It wasn't bad, it's fast for sure but nothing to compare with a GP bike. What surprised me more with the 500 was the turning, it was so fast."

Also because it is so light!

"Yes, at Silverstone, when I went into the corner, I nearly went into the grass! This surprised me the most."

Let's talk about 2021: was it easier or more difficult to fight with another guy inside your box?

"There are things that are good and bad with this. More tension in the box and in the team. But you have your rival next to you, and you have his data, everything: you can study him. For me sometimes it was quite nice, because I can see that he is struggling and make my decision for tyres and for the race. And be more confident in my decisions. "

How do you consider yourself, compared to Wayne. He was considered a tough, aggressive rider. Do you have some similarities or do you think you are a different rider? It took you time to get to the top but now you are very steady.

"Before I was quite aggressive ... maybe too much. Like dad’s style. In the end I have changed a lot my style in the last two years. Now I’m not so similar to my dad’s styles, I'm smoother, I don’t make so many mistakes. I still consider myself aggressive but more efficient."

How is the situation in Australia, we haven't raced for a couple of years, but now we hope to Phillip Island again. How is your relationship with the other Australian heroes, like Doohan and Stoner?

"Hopefully we can go there this year, I miss it too much, for me Phillip Island is the best track in the world. I have a good relationship with Mick and also with his son, Jack. He is a nice guy, we had dinner together in Sitges, and also with Casey ... in the past I didn't have much relationship with him in the past, but I think because Casey and my dad were fighting ... (laughs). I spoke to him in Portugal, my crew chief front last year, Massimo, was his in 250. We sat together the three of us for maybe two hours just speaking. In Valencia also I spoke to him quite a bit".

Australian riders have a special gift, they are different from Americans, Italians or Spaniards: they seem more relaxed, more 'easy', it depends on the country you come from, also if you live in Spain.

"I don't know what to tell you. Maybe we are harder than the Europeans, but I have lived in Spain for a long time, maybe I have the best of both worlds."

Was it a difficult decision to move from Australia to Spain?

"For sure. It was a big decision, I was 14 I was quite a young boy. It’s a big move, you don't speak the language, you don't know the culture. Everything is different. It was difficult. In certain moments I was close to going back ".

You speak Spanish?

"Yes, I do".

Better than the old riders!

"I think I speak perfect Spanish, maybe better than English! I have a Spanish girlfriend!"

The easiest way to learn a language!

"Of course, of course! I spoke it before, but in the last three years I have made a big step forward because at home we only speak Spanish. For me Spain is sort of like home now."

Do you plan to stay in Europe at the end of your career, maybe ten years from now?

"I honestly think so, I enjoy it a lot. Sitges is like a home to me."

What are your expectations this year?

"Learn a lot for sure. It’s going to be a difficult year and I will have to accept that I have a lot to learn and improve. I also expect to enjoy a lot with the big bike."

You've done a lot of laps, but you still have problems with your wrist and ribs. Will you be okay for the first race?

"I hope to be OK for Qatar. It will be a month and a half from the surgery to the race for my wrist. That should be enough. Even so, I feel not so bad with the bike."

Thanks Remy, good luck for the season.


 

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