GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 landed in the thrillingly fast confines of the Phillip Island Circuit for the sixteenth Grand Prix of the season. Augusto Fernandez attacked the rapid layout with relish but DNF-ed at mid-race distance.
Due to harsh weather conditions forecast for Sunday, MotoGP run the full 27-lap Grand Prix distance on Saturday in place of the normal Sprint.
Augusto Fernández catches the eye with P2 in the first Friday session, he almost makes Q2 and takes to the grid with 17th place but then crashes out after 12 laps.
Twelve months ago at Phillip Island MotoGP served up one of the best (and closest) races in recent years and the spectacle during a cool quali and surprise full-length Saturday race again delivered the goods. GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 moved from the heat of Indonesia to the wind and temperate skies of Australia’s southern coast for the second Grand Prix in a week to form part of the cast of the show.
Augusto Fernandez wanted to raise his game from the first laps of the Grand Prix and ‘went for it’ on Friday with 2nd position in Free Practice 1. The Spaniard maintained the momentum in the afternoon and was agonizingly close to Q2 direct entry, only two tenths of a second was the difference. Espargaro is a big fan of the technical challenge of Phillip Island and rode the wave of optimism to end Friday with a brilliant P5.
On Saturday morning Augusto held 2nd place in the Q1 session until the final seconds and eventually classified 4th, meaning 14th for the overall quali. He started from 17th on the grid after accepting a three-place penalty for inadvertently blocking a rider in P2 on Friday. Pol was 11th fastest in Q2. Friday was hot and sunny, Saturday cloudy and cooler and with the weather forecast due to turn stormy for Sunday the organizers elected to swap the Sprint for the 27-lap Grand Prix.
Augusto Fernandez, 17th in qualifying, DNF in the race:
“A real shame because we showed some good speed and were competitive all the weekend; every weekend we are a bit closer! We are carrying speed and I feel better and better. I hope we can race tomorrow and I can leave Phillip Island with a good sensation. I’m positive.”