Fernandez 17th in tricky #QatarGP, Oliveira ruled out for rest of 2023
The penultimate round of the MotoGP World Championship at the Lusail International Circuit started promising, but eventually didn’t go according to plan for the CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team. While Raul Fernandez was battling hard for the last point on Sunday, Miguel Oliveira was declared unfit already on Saturday.
Fernandez, who had a great feeling on Friday when he topped the timed Practice, managed to score his best ever Qualifying result in the premier class on Saturday with the ninth fastest time. Yet he was struggling in both races on Saturday and Sunday. After finishing in P14 in the Sprint, he didn’t have the ideal launch off the grid today either. He lost six places in the first lap and was then in a consistent race long fight for the last point. The Spaniard grit his teeth, but couldn’t catch a top 15 and eventually crossed the line in P17 after 22 intense laps under the floodlights in the Qatari desert.
Meanwhile, following his unlucky incident in yesterday’s Sprint race at just turn six of the first lap, where Miguel Oliveira collided with Aprilia colleague Aleix Espargaró, he was checked in the medical centre and underwent a CT scan in the local hospital to confirm a broken right scapula, which takes him out of contention for the rest of the season.
For the season finale that takes place in just a few days in Valencia, including the one-day test at the same venue on Tuesday after the race weekend, Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori is going to take over Oliveira’s RS-GP machine.
Honestly, I expected much more from today. We thought we could manage the tyre better during the race but in the second and third lap, I couldn’t stop or overtake with the bike. It was super difficult and when you have a feeling like this with the tyre you are almost done, I couldn’t catch the other riders and get close to them. Plus, I had a blister on the rear tyre and a lot of vibrations, it is something that we need to find a solution for in the future. It’s difficult to manage, we still come and give 100%. We saw since Misano that we have the pace but we need to put everything together. I know that we have the potential and we believe in Aprilia, I had a good pace during the weekend but the races were just difficult.
It was a race incident. Unfortunately, a crash to the Aprilia team mate, which really disappoints me. I got a really good start yesterday, so I just figured, I could keep gaining positions. But in turn six, I brake a little too late, Aleix probably braked a little bit too much. Once I saw I was probably going to hit him, I just put up the bike straight to avoid him, but I couldn’t miss his rear wheel. Unfortunately, we crashed together, which is disappointing. It was a misjudgement, which ended up with both of us on the ground and both of us injured. I have a fractured scapula and don’t really know the extent of the injury yet. So once I get home I will get a better look into it and see what’s really ahead of me in terms of recovery. It looks like I will not need surgery, but it takes a bit of time. I will unfortunately miss the rest of the season, so this was my final lap. I had a little bit of everything this season, it was not what I was expecting, but I think this could also build up some more character for next season. I’m glad I lived through everything this season, so hopefully next year is going to be better.