A refreshed and replenished GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 attacked the British Grand Prix at a wet and slick Silverstone circuit today and Augusto Fernandez continued to demonstrate his formidable talent in his rookie MotoGP season. The Moto2 world champion qualified a brilliant 5th for round nine of twenty and then rode to 8th in the Saturday Sprint: his best Saturday performance and first Sprint points. Returning teammate Pol Espargaro reached his first checkered flag of the season with 16th after the 12-lap affair.
The UK climate was true to stereotype for the thirteenth running of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and since the race set up shop at the time-honored circuit back in 2010. A cool, windy day of practice and initial times for qualification on Friday was followed by intense rainfall and lower temperatures through the first part of Saturday. The dash for Q1 and Q2 took place in a deluge, and with riders easing their way around the long course of 18 corners with lower grip and poor visibility due to the spray.
Augusto Fernandez found the gravel in Turn 1 of the revised layout Saturday morning but the Spaniard regrouped and rode excellently to make his way through Q1 and occupy the second row of the grid after his efforts in Q2. Pol Espargaro endured an exhilarating first day back in MotoGP action since March on Friday and was swiftly back to competitiveness on Saturday. His 15th position through the rain showed his experience and class.
The weather cleared up by the time of the Sprint but the track was still damp and treacherous. 10 laps of measured aggression saw Fernandez in the mix as he ran close to the top four. #37 controlled his pace, grip and potential to score points with 8th and register his best Saturday of 2023 to-date. Espargaro was eager to see the checkered flag for his first race classification since the end of 2022. Pol used his experience and his skills to battle once more and bring the bike home in 16th. It was another step in the Spaniard’s recuperation and recovery from injury.
Double the laps and get ready for more. The British Grand Prix should roar into life with Silverstone dry and busy with race fans. MotoGP gets on the gas from 14.00 CEST.
Augusto Fernandez, 5th in qualifying, 8th in the Sprint: “A good day and I felt decent in the wet. We adapted quickly. Qualifying went well and then I tried everything on the first laps of the Sprint. We were quite close to the KTM guys, so, good. A positive day. I’m hopeful for a better rhythm in the dry tomorrow than we had on Friday. The top five might be a step too far but we’ll aim for the top ten and see where we can arrive.”
Pol Espargaro, 15th in qualifying, 16th in the Sprint: “I didn’t know what to expect today. The track was wet but then half-half for the Sprint. It was a bit difficult and tricky! My plan was to finish the race and get to the pitbox because the risk level was a bit high for my first GP back. If it’s dry tomorrow then we’ll go for it a bit more!”
Nicolas Goyon, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 Team Manager: “What a day to begin the second half of the season. When we woke up this morning we knew anything could happen in this weather. Augusto did an amazing job coming from Q1 to Q2 and then to qualify on the second row. It was his best this year and a great achievement. He had a decent race to score his first Sprint points; a good feat for a rookie. Tomorrow he will start from P5 again and we know he will perform. Pol had a promising day. These conditions were not the best for him but he did well for P15. He started well in the Sprint, he learned and he finished the race, which was his overall goal. He can build from this point.”
- From GasGas Factory Racing Tech3 Team