GASGAS Factory Racing and Augusto Fernandez felt the adrenaline of MotoGP speed and action for the first time today as the Portuguese Grand Prix fired the world championship into life. Sunshine and a cool wind beat down on the Algarve International Circuit as the Spanish ‘combo’ bagged 13th position in round one of twenty-one.
Twenty-four hours after Augusto Fernandez qualified in 19th position and then was struck out of the first-ever MotoGP Sprint due to some poor luck on the Sighting lap, the 2022 Moto2 World Champion at last earned his spurs in the premier class of the world championship. #37 was repping the GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 pitbox by himself through the 25-lap affair – Pol Espargaro had made excellent progress in his recovery from a crash at Turn 10 on Friday and was already on his way home for more recuperation – but slid the RC16s into the fray around the first tight corners at the Algarve International Circuit.
Fernandez not only engaged in a dogfight with Franco Morbidelli but also learned the full extent of the Michelin tires, the myriad of rider controls, the weight and acceleration demands of MotoGP and other factors of racecraft that exist at the highest level.
When he roared past the first checkered flag of the season Augusto had registered 3 points for 13th and established a base of reference and performance for the next outing at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina next weekend.
Augusto Fernandez, 19th: “I’m happy. Good to finally get a MotoGP race experience! I was really looking forward to today. I struggled a bit in the beginning but my pace was very good towards the end. I still have a lot to learn and managing the whole race distance is one of those areas but I’m pleased with this start.”
Nicolas Goyon, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 Team Manager: “An emotional weekend, a first one of the season. It was intense with the new timetable. Augusto had a super-strong first race and the whole team would like to congratulate him for this smart rookie effort. He struggled a little at the beginning with the heavy bike but finished very well. A 1min 39.6 was his fastest lap and the same as he did in the test. Some points and valuable experience. Thanks also to the factory that brought us some important technical parts to improve our level. Pol is already back in Barcelona and we wish him a speedy recovery; we know he is already thinking about when he can be with us again. We are packing everything now to be ready for Argentina!”
Results MotoGPGrande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 41:25.401
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP) Aprilia +0.687
3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati +2.726
13. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 +21.723
World Championship standings MotoGP
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati, 37 points
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP) Aprilia, 25
3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati, 16
15. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3, 3
Moto3 and Moto2
The GASGAS Aspar Racing team cheered on Ryusei Yamanaka during the first Moto3 Grand Prix of the year. The Japanese was part of the 14-rider group pushing at the front of the pack in the opening phases of the 19 laps and would go on to seal 16th position after mistakenly enduring a Long Lap penalty. Teammate David Alonso was in eager form further forwards, but lost control entering Turn 1 after brief contact with another rider. He rejoined the race far behind the field; eventually pulling into the pitlane with six laps to go.
Ryusei Yamanaka: “The start of the race was quite good and I was in the top group. With six laps to go I saw what I thought was a Long Lap penalty and it was my mistake. The race was gone. A big shame but I need to learn from this. Argentina next and I have some experience there. Our weekend went well and we worked in the right way. I won’t make this mistake again.”
David Alonso: “I made a good start and was running a good rhythm until I touched another rider. I was enjoying myself and I was comfortable in the lead group, making some good moves. It was all too short. Argentina next. I’ll need to learn the circuit and be focused from the first moment. We’ll see how it goes.”
In Moto2 Jake Dixon rode a steady race after a challenging start. The Brit was systematic as he worked his way through from the middle of the field to reach a satisfying 6th position. JD was the picture of cool efficiency and produced a decent display of overtaking skill to earn his 10 points. Jordi Torres classified 23rd after his late call-up to the Grand Prix.
Jake Dixon: “Good. It was a difficult race but step-by-step I came back through the field. I didn’t feel too comfortable but fought my way back from 14th to 6th with a lot of overtaking. It was a big step and I didn’t expect to come back from that but I kept calm and kept breathing. All the hard work in the winter paid off because I could think calmly and clearly. This was the best we can do in the situation. I want to thank the team. I really like Argentina, so looking forward to it.”
Results Moto3 Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM 34:27.061
2. David Muñoz (ESP) KTM +0.160
3. Diogo Moreira (BRA) KTM +0.175
16. Ryusei Yamanaka (JPN) GASGAS Aspar Team +9.771
DNF. David Alonso (ESP) GASGAS Aspar Team
World Championship standings Moto3
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM, 25 points
2. David Muñoz (ESP) KTM, 20
3. Diogo Moreira (BRA) KTM, 16
16. Ryusei Yamanaka (JPN) GASGAS Aspar Team, 0
NC. David Alonso (ESP) GASGAS Aspar Team, 0
Results Moto2 Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) KTM 36:04.193
2. Aron Canet (ESP) +1.358
3. Tony Arbolino (ITA) +4.460
6. Jake Dixon (GBR) GASGAS Aspar Team +9.146
23. Jordi Torres (ESP) GASGAS Aspar Team +1:02.643
World Championship standings Moto2
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) KTM, 25 points
2. Aron Canet (ESP), 20
3. Tony Arbolino (ITA), 16
6. Jake Dixon (GBR) GASGAS Aspar Team, 10
- From GasGas Factory Racing