Good feeling for Fernandez on opening day of Portuguese GP


The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider finishes 4th fastest overall on Friday in Portimão, with Kaito Toba in 19th position.


The last round of the Moto3 World Championship got underway today with two intense and positive Free Practices for Red Bull KTM Ajo. Raul Fernandez focused his efforts on finding a good setup for his bike, lowering his times from morning to afternoon and finishing Friday with the fourth best lap overall. The Spaniard earned a provisional place in tomorrow’s Q2 session. Kaito Toba also took a step forward from FP1 to FP2 and was 19th on the combined timesheets.

In the morning run out the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo enjoyed 55 minutes of FP1 action – an extended session with the track new to the Moto3 series. Fernandez made use of his previous knowledge of the Portimão circuit acquired during his time in the FIM CEV, adapting early and leading the way on several occasions. He placed 6th, with a best time of 1:49.556 after 18 laps. Toba was among the fastest riders early on and, after stopping the clock at 1:50.879 on his penultimate attempt of 18, finished 28th.

FP2 also had an additional 15 minutes granted to the Moto3 riders. Fernandez continued with the good feeling he had enjoyed in the morning and lowered his fastest time from FP1 by more than a second. His 1:48.372 showed his speed and consistency and gave him fourth place. Like his Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate, Toba completed 20 laps in the afternoon. The Japanese rounded off the day in 19th position, his personal best being a 1:49.067.

Tomorrow morning sees a final Free Practice in which the riders will attempt to finetune the setup of their KTM bikes. The last starting grid of the year will be decided in Q1 and Q2 at 12:35 pm and 1 pm local time, respectively.


Results – FP1 & FP2
1. Albert Arenas (KTM) 1:47:987
2. Jeremy Alcoba (Honda) 1:48:188 +0.201
3. Tatsuki Suzuki (Honda) 1:48.361 +0.374
4. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:48.372 +0.385
5. Jaume Masia (Honda) 1:48.506 +0.519
19. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:49.067 +1.080


I’m quite satisfied with this first day of work in Portugal. We focused on finding a basic setup for our machine and we did that quite quickly. What I need above all is more laps, to allow me to adapt my style to this track. This is a circuit that wears down the tyres a lot, especially on the right side, so we have to find a good riding position on the bike so that this does not affect us too much.”


“The feeling today was good, although my final position and our lap times don’t reflect that. I encountered a lot of traffic on track and I wasn’t able to put in a clean lap, which prevented me from making the improvement I would have liked. The important thing is that we are ready for tomorrow. We will work hard to have a strong FP3, in which we hope to take a step forward and go directly into Q2.”