The GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 ‘red’ livery appeared extra fast and blurry under the impressive lighting system of the Lusail International Circuit for the Grand Prix of Qatar. Augusto Fernandez pushed to an impressive 9th position on Saturday evening to officially confirm his ‘Rookie of the Year’ .
MotoGP returns to Lusail for the 21st time and the 16th occasion with the floodlights in full flow after major renovation work around the 5.4km layout
Augusto Fernández leads the line for GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 after 12th in qualification and then winning a hot four rider battle for 9th during the penultimate Sprint of the season.
Practice took place late in the afternoon and provided relevant data for the early Saturday Quali. Augusto Fernandez and Pol Espargaro made speed starts to the fixture on Friday with efforts in FP1 that plugged the duo near the top ten. The PR session occurred in the evening and in cooler and humid conditions and Fernandez made the cut while a late crash for Espargaro unfortunately put the rapid Spaniard into Q1. Augusto was inside the top eight until the last minute of Q2 as the laps flew in. His best effort almost equaled the all-time lap record at Lusail and was enough for 12th, a second away from Pole.
After the Quali run on Saturday, the 11-lap Sprint was set for 20:00 local time. Fernandez clicked all the ‘pieces’ together: decent qualifying, good start, effective first laps and positive race pace. He was active and probing for slots on the fringe of the top ten and part of a multi-rider group. Proactiveness and some sharp moves on the final two circulations gave him a well-earned 9th: his best Sprint result since the British Grand Prix.
Augusto Fernandez, 12th in qualifying, 9th in the Sprint:
“Best Sprint in dry conditions. Happy with the race. The first part was not that fantastic and it took some time to put temperature in the rear tire and make my pace. But then I felt good and started to lap well. The soft front tire won’t be the option for tomorrow but I rode well in a different style. The pace and bike is working decently for the long race. We’ll analyze more tonight and try for another top ten tomorrow. I think that is our place right now. That’s the goal.”