Rising star: an interview with Augusto Fernandez
Interview and photos by Gareth Bouch for Vroom Media
2016 has been a remarkable rookie season for Augusto Fernandez in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto2 Championship. The youngster from Mallorca lies fifth in the overall championship standings on 87 points with only the final Valencia round yet to come.
His results for the Targobank CNS Motorsport team across the races have been both solid and consistent, including 6 fourth positions – and bear in mind that he didn’t even compete in the first two races at the opening round at Ricardo Tormo. Given the untouchable dominance of Steven Odendaal and, to a degree, Alan Techer at the head of the leaderboard, his high championship standing is seriously impressive – especially as a rookie.
But this should perhaps come as no surprise, given the level of his competitiveness over previous seasons in other championships. He finished last year’s European Superstock 600 Championship in fourth place, and won the European Junior Cup title in 2014, having missed out on it by the tiniest margin the year before. He also won the Spanish Superstock 600 Championship this year in crushingly dominant form.
Personable and affable off the track, Augusto has a potent mix of a smooth and fluid riding style and an aggressive (perhaps hard is a better word) competitive racing approach on track.
We caught up with Augusto at the FIM CEV Repsol’s penultimate round – Jerez – and sat down in the Targobank truck on the Friday to talk about his career to date, and his background and his 2016 season…
Where are you from?
I was actually born Madrid – but we moved to Mallorca when I was two years old so really I’m from Mallorca.
At what age did you start your racing career?
I started when I was 6. My dad bought me a minibike so I was able to ride and compete on that.
Is racing in your family? It often seems so with many Spanish riders…
Not actually racing, no… but certainly bikes. My dad was not a racer but we have a love of bikes in the family. That’s definitely where it comes from.
Is your family important in supporting you in your career?
Oh yes, certainly. They are always there for support. It’s very important… And at this time in your career it is good to have them around, as you meet many new people you have never known before. And for me it’s really good as I always have my dad with me. He always comes along to the races with me, and he helps keep me relaxed and in a good frame of mind. It’s definitely important for me.
Over the past years, what championships did you compete in?
I rode in the European Junior Cup in 2013 and 2014 as part of the WorldSBK Championship, and I won the Cup in 2014, and then last year I rode in the Superstock 600 Championship, again part of the WorldSBK Championship, and I finished fourth in that. Before those championships I had not ridden in a proper championship as such but did many races in things like Supermoto. But it was my move into the EJC that was the proper start to my racing career.
Did you enjoy your time in the European Junior Cup?
Yes, it was good. It makes you grow as a rider, and it’s really competitive being a single make championship. You’re all on the same bikes and there are riders from all over – it’s like a mini World Championship.
Have there been particular highs or lows across those years?
It’s all been pretty good really. Maybe not when I lost the EJC Championship in 2013 perhaps, which I lost by just a few points on that last race of the season – here in Jerez – and at that point in time I did feel really disappointed; after such a great year fighting for the championship, losing it by so little – that was not so great. But then I did win the title the following year and so that of course was a high point. And the move to Superstock and then to here, it’s all felt like good steady progress.
This year, apart from CEV Repsol, are you competing in anything else?
Yes – Also in the Spanish Superstock 600 Championship, riding for the CNS Motorsport team, and I won the Championship two races before the end. It was a strong year as I took every pole position, every fastest lap and won every race too up to where I won the title. The Team let me do a test with the Moto2 bike, and it went really well, so they moved me here into this championship also. It was quite a challenge to move from racing one bike (Stock 600) to the other (Moto2) as both championships ran through the year.
You are doing well this year – this is a great combination of you, the bike and the team?
Yes, it is a great combination. The results are really good. Of course I think I’d like to win a race or make a podium by the end of the season, but we have done very well, and I am pleased. I think we’re doing a great championship on the Tech3 bike; it’s been a very competitive season for us in what is a very competitive championship.
Do you have a favourite track?
I like this track (Jerez) a lot. It’s one of my favourites. And Valencia is a circuit I like a lot too.
What are your strengths in the way you ride? Do you think you have a particular riding style? And do you work very closely with your crew?
I’ve changed my style a lot with Moto2. I think I’ve made my style more aggressive with the Moto2 bike – it’s a particular kind of bike and with it’s settings you have to have a certain kind of style to ride it best.
Are there any particular riders you think are a special inspiration to you? In their riding style or their character and approach to the sport?
I certainly like the riding style of Marc Marquez; it’s hard and aggressive. But I suppose there are things you want to take from different riders – If you could take something from Lorenzo, from Pedrosa, from Rossi and from Marquez… then you have the perfect rider!
Away from the races – What do you do for relaxing and training?
To be honest I’m training pretty much all the time this year. Monday through to Saturday I’m training each and every day – then Sunday I relax. But I’m working really hard at training. There really isn’t much relaxing at the moment – I’m making sure everything is concentrated on my racing.
Do you have plans for next year? Can you tell us?
Yeah, we’re looking ahead to next year – there is nothing decided just yet, but we have plans and we’re talking to the Team (Targobank CNS Motorsport) and we’re also talking with other teams, but as of yet nothing is decided for certain.