Double DNF for Pol Espargaro and Augusto Fernandez in the #IndonesianGP
GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3’s adventure in Indonesia unfortunately came to an early end on Sunday at the Mandalika International Circuit. Augusto Fernandez and Pol Espargaro both crashed in this afternoon’s main showdown, and the team will leave dreamy Lombok island with two DNFs. This is the first time of 2023 that both GASGAS Tech3 riders fail to pass the checkered flag on a Sunday.
The weekend had been rather challenging so far for rookie Augusto Fernandez at the Mandalika International Circuit, but with work and perseverance, he managed to bring his team a P13-finish in yesterday’s sprint. Not bad after starting from the eighteenth position on the grid, so there were logically hopes for today as the rookie has proven since the start of the year that he is little by little becoming a Sunday man. The day was set to be again challenging physically, with already thirty-three degrees in the air and fifty-three on the ground at 10:40 local time (GMT+8), for the warm up. Augusto Fernandez rode his fastest in 1’31.746 this morning and was fourteenth, with again almost all riders less than one second from each other. As he lined up another time from P18 on the grid, he held tight his starting position for the first lap, and then he moved to P16 behind Raul Fernandez the next lap, with Alex Rins and Johann Zarco in his wheel. He made a small mistake on lap 4 at turn 10, went wide, which saw him revert back to his starting position behind Enea Bastianini. All riders were so competitive, and he was riding at a similar pace to the number 23 of the Ducati Factory. On lap 10, he rode his fastest race lap in 1’31.436, which was faster than Bastianini, Zarco and Fernandez (RNF), but unfortunately, he crashed in his efforts as he was trying to catch them so he could overtake. This is a disappointing outcome for the rookie who was riding at a similar pace to the podium finishers at the time he crashed.
For Pol Espargaro, this weekend was not an easy task either. Friday did not work the way he would have wanted, after he finished again in eleventh at the doors of qualifying 2, and then a small mistake while he was doing a decent sprint cost him many positions on Saturday. In addition to these, the Spaniard had not quite found yet the perfect way to feel at ease on his GASGAS RC16, but the work overnight has proven to be effective after he felt a lot of positives in his warm up session this morning. He was thirteenth with a best in 1’31.701 (+0.658). After these improvements, there was hope for Sunday’s afternoon main race. When lights went out at 15:00 local time in front of a packed Mandalika circuit, the number 44 took a star start as he progressed from P16 to P10 within one lap to find himself just behind fellow Pierer Mobility rider Jack Miller. The feeling on the bike was positive, but unfortunately he crashed in the second lap as he was pushing for more. Disappointing result for Pol Espargaro, but he will head to Phillip Island with the positives of the weekend as he found good directions to work from for the next races.
Thank you Indonesia for the warm welcome, it is a true pleasure to be coming to Lombok island with so many fans coming to support the team, and we can not wait to be back next year already! Time to pack and head a bit more south as Phillip island now awaits GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 for the Australian Grand Prix, on October 20-22, 2023.
“Hard weekend overall for us. At the start of the race, I made a mistake in turn 10 and went wide, but then I came back to my pace, I was feeling pretty well with how I was riding. Unfortunately, I lost the front and crashed, which is a great shame because I think that we could have been in the top 10. DNF today, but we take positives from our weekend because the pace was there again in the race, so I can not wait to try again next week in Australia.”
“I am obviously not happy after crashing so early in the race, but I think that we can take some positives from this weekend. I have been struggling a lot since the start on Friday and I was not feeling like I wanted on the bike. We made a lot of changes overnight, and in the warm up, the bike was working as I like, we were close to the top 10 this morning. Then in the race, my first two laps were really good, I recovered a lot of positions, overtook fast guys which proves that the bike was working well. So crashing is a pity, but it is important for the next races to finally get some good feedback as we have understood where the good points are.”