#ValenciaGP - November 25, 2023

The circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia hosted the last Super Saturday of the season today with the final qualifying sessions in the morning. On his home turf, Augusto Fernandez qualified in thirteenth, missing out by just 0.037 seconds the Q2, and Pol Espargaro was set to line up in eighteenth on the grid. In a Tissot Sprint that saw Jorge Martin bring the title fight until the very last day as he won on a Saturday for the ninth time of the season, Augusto Fernandez claimed P10, just 0.185 seconds from scoring a sprint point for the second time in a row after he took P9 in Qatar. Teammate Pol Espargaro finished in fourteenth.

Spaniard Augusto Fernandez did not have the best Friday after he encountered some struggles with the front of his bike, but things appeared much better on Saturday morning for the rookie who found more confidence on his bike in the final free practice 2 as MotoGP™ action kicked off at 10:10. After his P18 in Practice, Fernandez was on the entry list of another busy pre-qualifying stage with the likes of Pecco Bagnaia, Fabio Quartararo, Alex Marquez etc. The number 37 was not shy amongst these and gave the best of himself in the time attack, but his lap in 1’29.230 was just 0.037 seconds short from the second Q2 ticket grabbed by the number 73 of the Gresini Racing Team. That meant he qualified in thirteenth for what was going to be his final two races as a MotoGP™ rookie! Lights out at 15:00 LT for thirteen laps, and the rookie secured his initial grid position during the first three laps behind Franco Morbidelli. The number 37 started to increase his pace which gave him the opportunity to overtake the Yamaha Factory rider and move to P12 behind Raul Fernandez. He stayed behind the number 25 for a couple of laps, but as he continued to improve his pace, he caught back on his rival and managed to make a move on lap 9. With Johann Zarco now his next target, the rookie significantly reduced his gap with the French, as he registered his fastest sprint lap on lap 11/13 with a 1’30.161. In the end, he finished in tenth, 0.185 seconds from Zarco who claimed the last point at stake. This is the second top 10 finish in a row on a Saturday for Fernandez, a huge sign of the progress he has made all through the year.

Pol Espargaro continued to search for pace on Saturday morning after an average Friday which saw him struggling with the front of his bike, in addition to a late crash in Practice. He gained a bit of time in FP2 on his time from Practice, but he was still set to go through the first qualifying stage. In Q1, his best in 1’29.953 saw him qualify eighteenth of the Valencia Grand Prix. At the sprint start, the Spaniard took a good start as he clinched three positions in one lap to P15 behind Luca Marini. Jack Miller overtook them both the next lap, and the Spaniard found himself behind the number 10, with brother Aleix Espargaro behind him. Eventually the number 41 got the better of him, and the GASGAS Tech3 rider found himself behind Franco Morbidelli in sixteenth. Morbidelli's pace was slightly slower at some point, but the Spaniard struggled for a good opportunity to overtake him, despite his rhythm increasing towards the end. He rode his fastest lap in 1’30.660 on lap 11/13, just like his teammate, and finished P16 of the final sprint of 2023. Late penalties from riders #10 and #21 saw him take P14 in the end. That’s it for Super Saturdays in 2023, we will now focus on Sunday’s main race as the GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 team will look to finish the season in the best way possible. Don’t miss the season finale, tomorrow at 15:00 local time (GMT+1).

Position: 10th
Championship: 17th
Points: 71
"We managed to turn around the situation after a disappointing Friday. We worked really hard all together last night to understand what had gone wrong, and this morning we were feeling so much better. I felt great in qualifying, then in the sprint, so I am feeling confident for the main race tomorrow, and looking forward to it!”

Position: 14th
Championship: 23rd
Points: 13
"I was behind Luca Marini at the beginning of the sprint who was struggling a bit, but I could not overtake him so we lost time. Once he put the turbo on, it was a bit too much for me, so I focused on Franco Morbidelli. I rode faster than him at some point, but I could not pass him either. Hopefully tomorrow we have a clearer track so we can ride faster."

Team Manager
"It was an eventful Saturday in Valencia in front of a full circuit Ricardo Tormo, which is a really positive thing for our sport. I would like to congratulate the team because Friday was difficult and we were quite far behind the rest. Today, we made a huge step with Augusto Fernandez. He did a strong Q1, and missed out on Q2 by nothing, which is a shame, but he started from P13, which is not bad. In the Sprint, he took a good start, managed to pass some riders thanks to his strong pace and finished in the top 10 for the second time in a row on a Saturday. If we look at the whole 2023 picture, Augusto’s progression on Saturdays has been really impressive, so we are really happy about this. On the other side of the garage, today looked a bit more difficult, but Pol Espargaro rode really fast laps towards the end of the sprint, which is a shame because he lost some time stuck behind Luca Marini at the start. He finished in fourteenth in the end, but he is feeling well, almost at home, so let’s go back to work and prepare for the final race of the season as well as we all want to finish on a high."


Copyright © 2024 Tech3 
Designed by xleu.info