First points of 2023 for Raul Fernandez with 14th in #ArgentinaGP
The Gran Premio Michelin de la Republica Argentina saw mixed weather conditions, with a wet qualifying session followed by a dry Sprint race on Saturday. However, Sunday’s main race was a wet business as it rained slightly from morning to afternoon.
Despite being the sole rider for CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team this week in Termas de Rio Hondo after Miguel Oliveira’s injury, Fernandez showed his resilience and determination as he battled through the rain to secure 14th place finish aboard the Aprilia RS-GP.
The young Spaniard used the wet Warm Up to practice a bike swap and then build some confidence in the rain. Starting the 25-lap main race from P13, he unfortunately found himself back in 15th position in the first sector and was even touched by Brad Binder when the Sprint Race winner crashed, but Fernandez kept his head down. After just a few laps he had to give away another place but from then started to gain confidence and caught up step by step.
After eight laps, he was back close to the chasing group containing his brand colleagues Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro and fought his way back to the points scoring positions. With five laps to go, he passed fellow Aprilia rider Espargaro for P14, securing his first championship points of the season.
After an exciting and challenging double header at the start of the season, the MotoGP World Championship is going for a well-deserved weekend off now ahead of round three of 2023, which takes place in less than two weeks’ time in Austin, Texas. The CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team hopes to arrive in the US in full force again with Raul Fernandez and Miguel Oliveira, hopefully fully recovered from his tendon injury sustained in a controversial crash at the season opener in Portugal.
It was a difficult day. I’m happy because at the end I was fighting with the factory boys, but at the same time I feel frustrated because I was in the last few places. We were three different riders here on the Aprilia with different styles and settings on the bike, but all with the same results. I think our bike is competitive and I am happy with the RS-GP, but the bike characteristics at some point are quite aggressive and it is something we have to understand and also, I have to learn. I did a good start, then I was close to crash when Brad (Binder) touched me and I lost a bit of ground. But I came back, however it was quite impossible to overtake. We have a good engine and speed, but in some places, we don’t have the grip. I like working with Aprilia and moving forward we will work together to improve.