GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 got up to speed in the heat and haze of Malaysia as MotoGP began the last rush of dates and Grands Prix towards the end of the 2023 season. Augusto Fernandez raced around the Sepang International Circuit to take 14th in the Saturday Sprint after qualifying 14th.
MotoGP rounds Sepang for the 23rd time and since an inaugural Grand Prix at the Kuala Lumpur venue back in 1999. 15 corners and a 5.5km length delivers a fast and furious test for the riders and teams
GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 call on pre-season test data at the venue and previous markers help Augusto Fernandez get up to pace as he takes 14th.
MotoGP arrived refreshed and primed in Malaysia for the final three dates of the 2023 season. Three more consecutive weekends of Grand Prix action are slated until the curtain falls on an eventful and bright maiden campaign in Spain. The curves, braking points and occasional weather inconsistencies of the Sepang International Circuit provided the first episode of the ‘triple’ but was something of a relief to the ‘new boys’ on the MotoGP grid as the GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 were able to call on references and data accumulated at the pre-season test back in February.
This was beneficial for Augusto Fernandez as the Spaniard held a set of references for one of the very few times coming into a Grand Prix FP1.
The quali run on Saturday was played out in sunshine and with Fernandez extremely close to making the cut for Q2 during the Q1 dash. Augusto was 4th fastest in the session and Pol was 7th which translated to 14th and 17th on the start grid for the 10-lap MotoGP Sprint. An expectant and typically large crowd in Malaysia were rewarded with a set of battles for championship points. Fernandez initially barreled into the top ten but was then engulfed with the rest of the group behind and the race turned into a GASGAS ‘formation’ as Espargaro challenged his teammate. Augusto was half a second quicker at the flag and both Spaniards will be eying improvement and world championship points for Sunday.
The Malaysian Grand Prix will consist of 20 laps and European fans in particular will have to set the alarm clock for an 8am CEST start.
Augusto Fernandez, 14th in qualifying, 14th in the Sprint:
“A difficult Sprint after a pretty good Quali. We didn’t make Q2 but it was a good lap. The race pace was missing a little in the Sprint and we had that feeling from the third session. It’s something we need to improve and I hope we can make a step tomorrow.”