#AmericasGP - April 13, 2024

There was plenty to look forward to on Saturday in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas with the premier class disputing their third qualifying day of the season (already), followed later on in the afternoon by the exciting Tissot Sprint. Rookie star Pedro Acosta continued to shine and secured his first front row in MotoGP™, taking the second place on the grid behind poleman Maverick Vinales, before he challenged the best riders in the Tissot Sprint to eventually finish in fourth, his best result so far on a Saturday. Augusto Fernandez classified in eighteenth on the grid, but unfortunately crashed in the first lap of the sprint.

After an impressive first day in Texas at the end of which he finished P5 of Practice to qualify straight to Q2, MotoGP™ new star continued to shine on Saturday, for the biggest pleasure of the Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 squad. The day started pretty well as the young Shark topped Free Practice 2 0.171 seconds faster than two time-World Champion Francesco Bagnaia. No need to go crazy, it was just free practice 2, but things were looking pretty positive for the rookie ahead of the final stage of qualifying. Joined by Jack Miller and Alex Marquez coming from Q1, the rookie pulled a late lap in 2’01.192 in Q2 to secure his first front row in the premier class in second, 0.328 seconds behind poleman Maverick Vinales, and just ahead of Marc Marquez. As the lights went out at 15:00 local time (GMT-5) for ten laps of craziness, Pedro Acosta took a rather decent start but lost a position to Marc Marquez as he exited lap 1 in third. The next lap, he clocked his fastest lap of the sprint, in 2’02.586, and he held tight his position with Vinales and Marquez as they formed the front-trio. Acosta continued to put pressure on the Gresini rider as he kept registering faster laps than the #93, but the eight time-World champion did not let go. Meanwhile, Maverick Vinales had made a significant gap as he flew away at the front, and at the back, Jorge Martin was coming back big time from his sixth position on the grid. While he tried to defend his provisional place on the podium, the tyres were dropping for Acosta and he could not avoid an overtake from Martin on lap 5. With another five to go, the Shark slowed things down whilst he tried to maintain a competitive pace to avoid being caught back from behind. He finished fourth today and took his best Tissot Sprint result to date, as he added another six points to his bag.

On the other side, Augusto Fernandez lacked a bit of pace, confidence and luck in today’s Super Saturday. He headed to qualifying 1 with a decent pace and a good feeling on his RC16, but it was another extremely competitive pre-qualifying that took place in COTA on Saturday morning. Fernandez pulled a lap in 2’02.223, but he was still a bit far from the Q2 spots. He qualified in eighteen on the grid ahead of both the Tissot Sprint and Sunday’s main race. In the afternoon’s shootout, Augusto was unlucky and crashed in turn 15 of the first lap, while he was trying to defend his position. It is a shame after he had made a decent start, but the number 37 will have another opportunity to score points in Sunday’s main show, as the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas’ race will start at 14:00 local time (GMT-5).   

Position: 4th
Championship: 6th
Points: 34
"It was a very good Saturday for us. In qualifying, we were able to do a really nice flying lap to get ourselves in the front row. If you start a bit behind, the overtakes can be really tricky here in T1, T11 and T12. In the Sprint, we took a super nice start, with a good pace, so for this I am happy. We are still learning, so we need to fine tune our tyres management in general to understand how we need to start the race, and when it is time to push a bit more in the sprint. We have already targeted the issues to solve for tomorrow, but overall the bike was great today!"

Position DNF
Championship: 16th
Points: 5
"It is a shame to finish the sprint on the first lap because my start was not bad. Overall, the feeling has been improving all weekend, and the pace too. Our grid position is a bit far, but we have potential to do something good tomorrow. We will need to take a good start, not lose ground with the other riders, and hold a good pace. Let’s try again tomorrow!

Team Manager
"Today was another day to highlight for the Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 team, after our rookie Pedro Acosta qualified second on the grid, his first front row start in the main class. It is obviously a really strong performance as it is only his third round in MotoGP! Everytime he is on track, he gives his maximum, and as a team, we are just really enjoying the show, because he is riding at an unbelievable level. Later, he achieved a strong Tissot Sprint, with which we are really happy. Of course, he wants more, and I know that he is already preparing his strategy for tomorrow’s race, but as a team, we feel like fighting with a rider like Marc Marquez is already a strong performance. The weekend had been positive so far for Augusto Fernandez, but unfortunately he lost the front in turn 15 in the first lap of the sprint while he was trying to defend his position, so it is a great shame because he could not get the benefits from the sprint. He was happy with his bike, so we are looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully we can score points in the main race.


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