#PortugueseGP - March 23, 2024

There was plenty of MotoGP™ track action on Saturday at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve with a busy schedule for Red Bull GASGAS Tech3’s Pedro Acosta and Augusto Fernandez. MotoGP™’s new rookie managed to qualify from Q1 to Q2 this morning to place himself in P7 on the grid, just before he brilliantly got himself a seventh place in the Tissot Sprint. Teammate Augusto Fernandez qualified in eighteenth on the grid, and finished fifteenth in the Sprint.

Despite being unable to take full advantage of the first session of Friday due to the bad track conditions, rookie Pedro Acosta still managed to find his way on the rollercoaster, a layout he discovered for the first time on a MotoGP™ machine. His lap times were already really encouraging on Friday, and more steps were taken this morning. After being second fastest of Free Practice 2 just behind Maverick Vinales, the young Shark had to go through his first Q1, known to be extremely difficult to go through. However, Acosta brilliantly managed to make his way to the next session with an impressive 1’38.065, taking P2 0.005 seconds behind Alex Marquez. You would think that it is already a good thing that he managed to do that on his second weekend, but he continued to showcase his talent and made his way to the third row, in P7 with a 1’38.138, just 0.432 from the pole position. As the lights went out at 15:00 local time for the Tissot Sprint with a bit of wind, Acosta did not take the best start and dropped to P11 after the first lap behind Fabio Quartararo. He struggled a bit in the first laps to settle in, but after two laps, he was in Shark mode again, and clocked in a 1’38.678 on lap 3, and just like that, he was in P8 behind Aleix Espargaro. The next lap, the young rookie overtook the most experienced rider of the grid to settle in P7 behind pole man Enea Bastianini. He was able to race at an incredible pace all the way until the end, as he slowly closed the gap with his rival ahead, to eventually finish seventh. Acosta continued to shine on what was his second Saturday in MotoGP™, a performance highlighted by his fastest lap which is today’s second fastest lap. We can’t wait to see what the most successful rider of Portimao can do on the long distance.

Augusto Fernandez continued to look out for solutions to improve his feeling on the bike today, and it looks like there were positives from the front end of the bike after the rookie was able to progressively improve his performances. After FP2, the number 37 went through a busy qualifying alongside his teammate, and rode his fastest lap in 1’38.934. That placed him in P18 on the grid ahead of the afternoon’s Tissot Sprint. At the start, Fernandez tried to make his space within the back of the grid traffic, but he was overtaken by Johann Zarco, and he sat in P19 after one lap behind the Ducati of Franco Morbidelli. A few riders went to the mistake which allowed Fernandez to regain some ground on his rivals, until he found himself with Joan Mir. Finally, we were able to witness better lap times as the race went by for the number 37, a scenario he had used us to last season in his rookie year. As the tyres started to drop, he appeared more confident, and clocked in his fastest lap on lap 11 in 1’39.527. He took the checkered flag in fifteen, and will head to Sunday’s main race with positives following a good second half today. Don’t miss the main race on Sunday at 14:00 local time, as MotoGP™ riders battle it out for the crown in Portugal!

Position: 7th
Championship: 9th
Points: 12
"Super nice day! We improved a lot from Friday, we made decent steps on the bike, and how I feel and ride in general. It was tricky to start from zero as it is the first GP where I had no previous MotoGP experience, but we were competitive all day. In the Sprint, we were a bit slow at the start as I lost quite a lot of time in the first laps, but then I was riding at a great speed, and in the end the result was really positive. We are doing a great job with the team, let’s keep working.

Position: 15th
Championship: 17th
Points: 0
"Qualifying and sprint were not easy, but today was the first time since the start of the season where I was able to improve my lap times towards the end of the race despite the tyres drop. The two last laps at the end were decent, close to the front guys, which is not bad. All of this put together, I feel confident for tomorrow for the long distance, a bit like last year, so let’s try to be back in that mood, and use it to score some points.

Team Manager
"Coming to Portimao, we had a few question marks on the performances Pedro Acosta could achieve here, as it was his first race weekend without having done a test in MotoGP. Although knowing both him and the fact that he is the most successful rider in Portimao, we were confident that we could do a good job. Yesterday, he failed to qualify directly to Q2 at the very last second and took P11 of Practice. That means he went through the very tricky qualifying 1 for the first time, but he achieved a brilliant performance as he managed to go through and qualify P7 on the grid, which is even better than in Qatar. In the Tissot Sprint, he did not take a good start, but then rode a strong pace, even took the second fastest lap of the Sprint, to finally achieve a seventh place, his best Sprint result. This leaves us believing that he can do a very strong race in Sunday’s main show. On Augusto Fernandez’ side, just like the track, our feelings are a bit like a rollercoaster, mixed! We are trying to find the bike which really suits him, and in the Sprint, the front end of the bike was an improvement for him. We now need to focus on the rear end to get him the perfect package. This is our main target with Augusto, and we won’t give up until we get him the bike he deserves.


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