“At the end of the contest, the first thing I thought was: we have finally done it.”10/11/2020
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider, Raul Fernandez, claimed his first Moto3 victory last Sunday at the European Grand Prix.
The effort and hard work of Red Bull KTM Ajo and Raul Fernandez reaped its rewards last Sunday in Valencia, as the Spaniard claimed his first ever victory in the Moto3 class. After having taken five pole positions so far this season, Fernandez took a step up with a dominant win at the European Grand Prix. The 20-year-old rider talks about the experience and analyses his first year with the team in an interview this week, ahead of the final two rounds of the year.
Last Sunday you achieved your first Grand Prix victory. What did this mean to you?
“I have no words to describe it. It was the reward for a lifetime’s work. Since I started riding a motorcycle, achieving a Grand Prix victory was a dream of mine. Getting the first win is incredible and, above all, doing it with this team. You never know when the win will come, but when you finally get it the experience is indescribable.”
What was the first thing that crossed your mind when you finished the race?
“At the end of the contest, the first thing I thought was: we have finally done it. The long-awaited victory for which we have been working for so long, especially this year, had arrived. I also remembered all those people who have been supporting me in the most difficult times.”
On a weekend in which you only had 20 minutes in the dry, what do you think was the key to the win?
“It was a tough Grand Prix, although having little time on track in dry conditions was more of a help for me. I am a rider who adapts easily to different situations, and having such a strong team behind me, with great technicians and mechanics who can find a very successful setup in a short time, was the key.”
Your first victory came at the same circuit where you debuted in the Moto3 World Championship in 2016.
“The Ricardo Tormo Circuit and I have a ‘love-hate relationship.’ It was here that I had my worst moment on a sporting level, since I had to have surgery on my spleen as a result of a crash. That was in 2014, when I was only 14 years old.
Later I won my first FIM CEV race here. I clinched my first major title here in the FIM Moto3 Junior World Championship, and Sunday was the scene of my debut Grand Prix victory. That is why I have conflicting feelings about this track.”
“Both the team and I are in a very strong mental and physical state for this final stretch of the season.”
In your debut year with Red Bull KTM Ajo you took 5 pole positions and now a victory. With two races to go, what is your assessment of the work done together with the team in 2020?
“It is a dream year, which I am enjoying a lot with the team. In practice, over a single lap, we have shown that we are the fastest. The problem that we had at the beginning of the year was a small issue with dealing with the pressure I imposed on myself, which didn’t allow me to fully enjoy with the bike. I wanted to show that I was capable of winning races, and that everything that happened in 2019 was just a case of bad luck. When I was able to understand how to cope with this, the results came.
Aki has been the person who has helped me the most to take that pressure off me. He has taught me as a rider and, above all, as a person.”
Do you think you can keep this up at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit this week?
“This weekend, we have the possibility of doing great things, since we have more time to find a good setup and to understand those things that we couldn’t read in the race.
It is at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit that we found that point of psychological calm that I needed. Now that we have achieved our first victory, it is very positive to have a second chance at the same track.”
How do you face the final two races, and what goals have you set for yourself?
“I am facing them calmly, without pressure. I want to enjoy things, as I did at the last four contests. I will try to fight for the win and, if not, try to get onto the podium. Both the team and I are in a very strong mental and physical state for this final stretch of the season.”