- Reigning Moto2 Champ Augusto Fernandez makes MotoGP race debut in the first ever Sprint
- The Spaniard lined-up 19th on the grid and will start from the same position for Sunday’s Grand Prix distance
- Fernandez is just over a second away from lap-record breaking Pole Position
- Pol Espargaro ruled out of the running after a crash during Saturday Practice 2
- 6th for David Alonso in Moto3™ and Jake Dixon 12th in Moto2
Glorious Portuguese sunshine greeted the launch of 2023 MotoGP at the Algarve International Circuit and the venue where the series completed their pre-season testing duties in the previous two weeks. A gnarly crash for Pol Espargaro through Saturday’s Practice 2 put the Spaniard into hospital for observation and the GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 lost their ‘captain’ for the weekend. #44 has started to make a recovery from impacts to his abdomen and back but was out of the game at Portimao.
The spotlight therefore fell on rookie Augusto Fernandez who has already adapted quickly to the increased technical and physical demands of MotoGP after his triumphant Moto2 campaign in 2022. The Spaniard was just over a second from record-breaking lap-times in Q1 on Saturday morning, which gave him a grid slot of 19th. Augusto and the team then attempted the very first MotoGP Sprint on Saturday afternoon but their participation ended early-on with a technical issue.
The first race of 2023 gets underway at 14.00 GMT on Sunday. Don’t forget to set the clock!
Augusto Fernandez, 19th in qualification, DNF in the Sprint: “A shame about today but I could feel that something wasn’t right when I pulled onto the grid of the Sprint. I wanted to live that experience of a race start but thankfully we have another chance tomorrow! I was happy with my lap-time in qualifying. The position could have been better but I was pleased because I improved a lot from Friday. Those guys were flying and we were just one second from Pole. I think our race pace is better. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Nicolas Goyon, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 Team Manager: “What a weekend. First of all, we all wish a quick recovery for Pol. The whole team is behind him and we hope he will be back with us soon. Hard luck for Augusto because he’d had a good few days and was improving every session. The technical issue on the warm-up lap forced him to start in 2nd gear and damaged the clutch. We hope he will show us what he can do tomorrow.”
Results Qualifying MotoGP Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Marc Marquez (ESP) Honda 1:37.226
2. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +0.064
3. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +0.228
19. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 +1.238
Results MotoGP Sprint Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 19:52.862
2. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +0.307
3. Marc Marquez (ESP) Honda +1.517
DNF. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3
Moto3 and Moto2
The GASGAS Aspar Racing team rolled into motion with their Moto3 and Moto2 line-ups. New recruit David Alonso was the fastest Moto3 racer in ‘red’ as the Spaniard throttled his way to 6th fastest. Alonso strained every ounce of speed and knowledge through Q2 to rest seven tenths of a second from Pole Position. Teammate Ryusei Yamanaka qualified in 17th.
Jake Dixon was at the sharp end of the Chrono through Practice on Friday but made his speed count during Q1 and Q2 on Saturday. Again, just seven tenths of a second was the divider for the team as the Brit managed 12th on the grid. The team missed Izan Guevara due to injury but late substitute Jordi Torres filled-in and rode to 26th.
Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal photographs can be found HERE
Results Qualifying Moto2 Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Filip Salac (CZE) 1:42.323
2. Aron Canet (ESP) +0.058
3. Pedro Acosta (ESP) +0.284
12. Jake Dixon (GBR) GASGAS Aspar Team +0.739
26. Jordi Torres (ESP) GASGAS Aspar Team +2.667 (Q1)
Results Qualifying Moto3 Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna 1:46.798
2. Jose Rueda (ESP) KTM +0.374
3. Joel Kelso (AUS) CFMOTO +0.450
6. David Alonso (ESP) GASGAS Aspar Team +0.721
17. Ryusei Yamanaka (JPN) GASGAS Aspar Team +1.402