Double DNF for CryptoDATA RNF’s Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fenrandez at Portimao
Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez started well-prepared and highly motivated for the first Sunday race of the 2023 season at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve under sunny skies, anticipating a promising outcome in round one. However, the final result proved to be more challenging, as both riders failed to finish the race.
Home hero Oliveira, demonstrated an excellent pace and confidence after an impressive Sprint Race on Saturday. Starting from the fourth position on the grid, all eyes were on the Portuguese rider as he took the lead on the first lap amid thunderous applause from the grandstands. Although reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia passed him on the second lap leaving him in second place, Oliveira had an incredible speed to keep up and was surely going to fight for a podium.
Unfortunately, he was hit by Marc Marquez in the third lap, which sent him on the ground. While suffering a heavy crash, he injured his hip on the right side. The 28-year old was immediately transferred to the medical center, where an x-ray luckily didn’t reveal any fractures. Oliveira will undergo some further examinations and treatments next week in order to make sure he can compete in decent conditions at round two, which takes places just next week in Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina.
Meanwhile, Fernandez, who had a less than ideal Qualifying and had to start from P19 on the grid, showed tenacity throughout the race to catch up. After the first lap, he moved up to P17, and by the third lap of 25, the young Spaniard had already climbed to 12th place, where he continued to fight for as many points as possible. Unfortunately, he crashed on the last lap and, as a result, left Portimao without any championship points.
“Today was a shame, obviously to end my home Grand Prix in just two laps was not something I expected. However, we can still be proud on the progress we made throughout this week. We had a difficult day on Friday and then to do Qualifying like how we did it yesterday and to almost have the podium in hand on the last lap in the Sprint Race was amazing. We had a good start today, to lead and then coming second, I think there was a clear opportunity for us to score a podium. I’m still very bruised on the right side of my hip from the crash, hopefully I can do everything I can do be fully fit for Argentina next weekend.”
“I’m ok after the crash. First of all, I want to say sorry to my team as we had a quite difficult race weekend. In general, I was feeling quite comfortable in both races and I have been fighting a lot in the Sprint Race and in the main Race with Fabio (Quartararo), which was a quite good reference. Today I felt really well. I had a good start and a good recovery towards the front. I arrived behind Fabio again and was closing the gap to the group with Maverick (Viñales). I think I could have finished the race close to them. But from lap 16 onwards I started to have some problems with my right arm, couldn’t find a good feeling and I ended up crashing. This is a very strange thing and I already experienced this back in Moto2, so I want to get it checked by a doctor again.”