#QatarGP - March 9, 2024

Red Bull GASGAS Tech3’s Pedro Acosta and Augusto Fernandez just completed a very intense Saturday in Doha, Qatar. Indeed, the rain from Friday evening forced the race direction to postpone Practice to Saturday early afternoon, just before the first qualifying shootout, later on followed by the 11-lap Tissot Sprint. It was a day for the fast laps, and all we can say is that it did not scare off Pedro Acosta. The rookie completed a perfect Saturday, qualifying directly to Q2 after Practice on his MotoGP™ debuts, before he went on to get himself a third row start. Augusto Fernandez struggled a bit more in qualifying, and was starting the Tissot Sprint from P18.

It was a special Saturday in Doha, for many reasons. First, it was the first of rookie sensation Pedro Acosta in MotoGP™, as he headed to his first qualifying shootout and Tissot Sprint in the main class. Secondly, the schedule change added an extra challenge and extra pressure, as all sessions were key today. In Practice, there was the pressure to try to make it to the ten fastest. In qualifying, there was the pressure to make the most of it to get a good grid position amongst La  Crème de la Crème, and finally in the Tissot Sprint, there was the pressure of the first race in MotoGP™. However, it is with an impressive attitude that rookie Acosta successfully managed his first Saturday. This started when he brilliantly claimed P6 of Practice with a 1’51.372, thus beating his fastest lap from the Qatar Test (1’52.046), which meant that he made it straight to the final qualifying stage. Later on in qualifying, he rode even faster and a 1’51.130 (+0.341 seconds from poleman) got him a third row start, in P8, for his first MotoGP™ weekend. Not bad. When the lights went out for the first time of 2024 for the Tissot Sprint under the floodlights of Lusail circuit, the rookie was not shy either. Starting from eighth, he lost a few positions in the first lap to P11 and found himself behind Maverick Vinales, but he quickly recovered to P8 at lap 3 behind Alex Marquez. The next lap was his fastest in 1’52.357 (0.317 seconds from the fastest lap of today), and he held his position firmly with Vinales and Miller in his wheels, although his gap with the number 73 in front increased a bit. He passed his first MotoGP™ checkered flag in P8, 4.431 seconds from Sprint master Jorge Martin, and 1.277 from Alex Marquez. Acosta scored his first two points in MotoGP™, and we can not wait to see what he has in store for the main race on Sunday.

On the other side, Augusto Fernandez made a few steps on Saturday although he continued to go through some issues preventing him from feeling at his best on his 2024 GASGAS RC16. In Practice, he rode his fastest in 1’52.547, his fastest lap in Doha since he has been a MotoGP™ rider, but that still kept him a bit far from the rest in P18. In the extremely tough Q1 as MotoGP™ is more competitive than ever, Augusto Fernandez pulled a 1’52.204, which got him the eighteenth place on the grid. In the Sprint, the number 37 struggled to find his pace and rhythm. The start was far from ideal after he dropped two positions. Eventually he recovered one, but stayed stuck behind Takaaki Nakagami for most of the sprint. He managed to finish in P18. A hard working night awaits Augusto’s squad as they look for solutions to help the Spaniard recover his lost feeling, ahead of the main race from the Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar, on Sunday at 20:00 local time (GMT+3).

Position: 8th
Championship: 8th
Points: 2
"Today was a super stressful day with Practice, qualifying and then the Sprint. There was a lot going on, a lot of emotions to handle, and I can say that we can be really happy about our day. Everything went super well, we did not make too many mistakes in the sprint and the gap to the front did not go down too much after eleven laps. We got our first points, so it was a really good day, and we are happy.

Position: 18th
Championship: 18th
Points: 0
"It has been a difficult day. We are making more steps but we are still far from where we want to be. It is important for us to finish the races, even if we know that tomorrow will be difficult. However, we will fight, try to survive through the race with points, and hopefully we can build from there for the upcoming races.

"We knew that today would not be an easy day after we moved Practice to Saturday, because that meant that we spent most of our day in soft tyres chasing for the fast laps. However, it is fair to say that today is a day to remember for Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 after our rookie Pedro Acosta shined under the floodlights of Qatar. It is the first time since 2019 that a rookie manages to qualify straight to Q2 on his first race. It is a huge achievement for all of us, and all we can say to Pedro is hats off! He also rode his first Tissot Sprint and scored his first points of the season, and we know for sure how difficult it is to score on Saturdays, even more for a rookie. He has achieved an amazing day, but he wants more, we all want more with him, so we will now focus on the main race which is the main target. On the other side, Augusto Fernandez is still going through some issues with his bike, and he is not feeling confident enough to fight at the level he was last season. It is key for us to try understanding what is going on, what is missing, but we will do the maximum and work as hard as we can to give him the bike that he deserves, and this includes tonight ahead of tomorrow’s race.


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