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SBK, Gardner: "MotoGP and Superbike have a completely different style of riding"

"Last year it felt like starting almost from scratch because much of what I knew did not apply to SBK. The main differences are brakes and power, but the biggest one is the tires."

SBK: Gardner:

Adapting to World Superbike coming from MotoGP is not as easy and straightforward as one might think. Remy Gardner, who last year made his entry among the production derivatives with the Yamaha R1 fielded by the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK team, knows something about this. It was a totally unchartered world for the Australian rider, who was coming off nine seasons among prototypes in MotoGP. The last of which he spent in MotoGP with the KTM of the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team.

"Coming from a different championship last year, there was a lot for me to get my head around. It almost felt like I was starting from scratch, learning everything again as most of what I knew from racing GP bikes didn’t apply here and that meant if we had a bit of a problem, it took a bit longer to work through with the guys in the garage because to me it was all new," Remy says, talking about the adjustment path that led him to his first podium finish in the World Superbike at the last round in Assen: "But about halfway through last year, we managed to take a big step and from there on, we’ve just gradually got better and better as I’ve started to get a bit more understanding of what is needed here. How I can get the most out of the Yamaha, the Pirelli tyres, the electronics - everything! It feels like we’re just starting to come good, and the podium shows that, but of course, you always want more!"

Data in hand, the gap between SBK and MotoGP is not huge over a single lap. This is evidenced by the fact that the time that earned this year's pole position at Montmeló in MotoGP was just 1.2 seconds faster than that set by the SBK poleman, on the same track, with almost identical track conditions and air temperature and a straight-line speed difference of about 30 km/h. So many, however, are the differences between the two championships and between the bikes that drive them.

"The main difference in the actual characteristics of the bikes is the power and the brakes," Gardner explains, "MotoGP bikes have a good deal more power, we’re talking maybe 40-50bhp and this is very noticeable and then in MotoGP you run carbon brakes, which are very different in both feeling and power to the more traditional brakes we run on the Superbike. But if being completely honest, the biggest difference to get your head as a rider is probably the tyres."

Different tyres, which require a different riding style and involve a different approach to racing.

"It’s a completely different philosophy. The Pirelli is a tyre which has really good grip in the beginning, but it deteriorates very quickly, so you basically have to nurse it to the end which is an art in itself. In MotoGP, honestly, you could be pretty much flat out for most of a race and still be pretty strong at the end. There is obviously some level of tyre management in MotoGP, especially at certain circuits, but it’s nothing like it is in World Superbike and that means you have to attack a race in a completely different way. Over one lap, the difference between a MotoGP bike and a Superbike isn’t huge, but over race distance it’s massive. It’s a completely different style of riding, and if I’m honest, it’s taken me some time to get my head around that," acknowledges the Yamaha rider .

"I think the rider can ride the bike a little bit more in WorldSBK. In MotoGP, it’s very much you ride bike X , and this is the way you have to ride it, whereas here there is a little bit of that but it’s not quite the same," he continued. "I’d say MotoGP is more of a technical way of racing compared to Superbike, which is perhaps more racing in the traditional sense? It’s a bit more elbows out, which is both good and bad, but I personally enjoy it!"


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