The MotoGP rookie, who had qualified 18th, lost one of his wings during contact with Alex Marquez.
It may not have looked like much of a loss, but in a sign of just how sophisticated MotoGP aerodynamics have become, the Australian’s Tech3 KTM became almost ‘unrideable’.
Not only did the RC16 wheelie more due to the loss of downforce, but it also pulled to one side and began shaking along the straights.
“In the second corner, I lost my wing on the front-left side. And the thing is unrideable like that!” Gardner said.
“It was wheelieing everywhere but not like a straight wheelie, it would kind of tilt the bike as well and really pull to the right.
“I was trying, I was pushing, but it was hard. Especially in the left-handers.
“I couldn’t even get full gas down the straight because it was just shaking its head and wobbling!”
The Australian added: “I was surprised at the amount of downforce those things create, and how much drag you get from one side only.
“It was not fun. It was honestly probably better just to rip the other one off, throw it away and keep going!”
Nonetheless, Gardner didn’t consider quitting and continued with one wing missing to take the chequered flag in 20th place.
“I never give up. You may as well just stay out there and try and learn something… Today I guess we learned the wings are quite effective!” he joked.
“Even my crew chief said he thought I’d probably stop. But we finished and it’s another race under my belt. You gotta finish.
“I knew we were going to struggle a little bit here anyway, but unfortunately that incident cost us a better race today.”
Reigning Moto2 champion Gardner, who took his best MotoGP finish to date with 14th at Portimao a week earlier, will be back on track tomorrow for a day of official testing.
“We have a few things and different settings to work on to give Remy what he deserves, which is a more effective package,” said team boss Herve Poncharal. “We hope that he will be able to be closer to the other guys from the next round in Le Mans, the team’s home Grand Prix.”
Raul Fernandez ruled out of Monday’s test
Meanwhile, Gardner’s team-mate Raul Fernandez missed his second race in row, due to the Portimao hand injury, and will also be absent from the Monday test.
“I am really sad to have Raul Fernandez in the box and not on his bike for the second Grand Prix in a row,” Poncharal said.
“He has been great, kept positive all weekend along, attended media activities, briefings, spent time with his team, and all the sessions on the safety road trying to learn from his rivals.
“He will not be testing tomorrow as he is still unfit, but I am quite sure that he will be back with us in Le Mans.”