Fernandez makes promising debut with the Red Bull KTM Ajo in Germany13/07/2018
Spanish rider makes a commendable start to the German GP, replacing the injured Darryn Binder, with thirteenth place overall.
Standing in for another rider in the Moto3 World Championship is never an easy task, especially with an unfamiliar team and bike at a track where you have little riding experience. However, none of this proved to be a problem for Raul Fernandez on the first day of the German GP at Sachsenring. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was amongst the fastest riders in the opening pair of Free Practice sessions, completing the day in thirteenth position.
A hard-fought Top 5 start began proceedings at Round 9, as Fernandez adapted to the Red Bull KTM Ajo team’s KTM bike extremely quickly. Up amongst the Top 15 in the early stages, and in the Top 10 within the quarter-hour, the Spaniard pushed hard after two pitstops to discuss his initial feelings with his crew. He would clock the fifth best time on his penultimate attempt, with a 1:27.611.
In the second session he focused on race pace with used tyres, again riding in the Top 15. It was on his third stint, with fresh tyres and after a light spatter of rain, that he improved on his morning time and put himself into thirteenth place, with a 1:27.524 lap, just half a second off the pacesetter.
Tomorrow the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider will try to reflect today’s great work with a strong position on the grid. Qualifying will start at 12:35pm.
Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Philipp Oettl (KTM) 1:26:938
2. Tony Arbolino (Honda) 1:26.980 +0.042
3. Jorge Martin (Honda) 1:26.984 +0.046
4. John McPhee (KTM) 1:27.074 +0.163
5. Marcos Ramirez (KTM) 1:27.098 +0.160
13. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:27.524 +0.586
#25 Raul Fernandez
“It’s been a very positive day. In FP1 I still didn’t know the bike well, because even though I’ve ridden a KTM in the FIM CEV series, there are some differences and, on the first two or three laps, I couldn’t find the right path to follow. But from that moment I felt very comfortable and I enjoyed riding the bike.
We took a step forward in FP2, but on my hot lap I made a mistake and ran wide, stepping off my line, and to avoid crashing I decided to take a corner slowly. That lost me 2 or 3 tenths, which is very important here. Even so, I am very happy, we are working hard and the objectives are being met. The main thing this weekend is to enjoy myself and, in addition, I’m learning a lot from a team as good as this. For me it’s a privilege and I want to thank them.
The first thing we have to look for tomorrow in FP3 is to have a good pace and then try to put in a good lap to get high up the order, because I think the race will be ridden in a group here and if we have pace and we are up there, we can fight.”