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MotoGP Catalan GP

Fernandez “crying like a baby” after “very stupid mistake” in Barcelona MotoGP sprint

Raul Fernandez was “crying like a baby” after crashing out of the lead of the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix sprint race, which he says was a “very stupid mistake”.

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Racing Team

The Trackhouse Racing rider qualified a career-best third for himself and the American team on Saturday morning at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Fernandez, riding the 2023-spec Aprilia that won last year’s sprint and GP at Barcelona, took the lead on lap three of 12 and quickly broke away from the pack by almost a second.

But on lap five, Fernandez crashed out at Turn 10, which he explained was down to him compensating for a mistake which cost him time at Turn 9.

“Now I feel a little bit better, but before arriving to the box I was crying like a baby,” he said on Saturday after the sprint.

“Honestly, I want to say sorry to the team. I did a very stupid mistake.

“I felt super comfortable today, I felt I had it all under control.

“I think the crash was for a mistake. I was trying to compensate for a mistake I did in the curve before the one I crashed at.”

He added: “I don’t know why; I had a lot of movement in Turn 9. I lost a little bit of time, I felt, but I tried to compensate on the brakes [at Turn 10] and I said ‘f**k, I go wide’.

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Racing Team

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“But at the moment I tried to close the line and I crashed.

“Was 100% my mistake, I was maybe in that moment the ambition was too much because I didn’t want to lose too much time.

“But it’s part of the game. Honestly, I am happy because we saw we can be here. I saw that we are competitive. Just it’s a question of time.

“We need time. We need to put everything like I want and we are now on a correct way.”

Significant progress for underpressure youngster

Fernandez narrowly missed out on the Moto2 title in 2021 in a season in which he scored a record eight wins for a rookie in the class.

But his time in MotoGP has been lacking in results, with Fernandez scoring just 14 points in 2022 with Tech3 and KTM before moving to Aprilia’s satellite outfit last year – which was RNF Racing at the time.

He had just one grand prix top five all season, fifth at the finale in Valencia, while the start to 2024 has been even tougher.

Albeit not with machine parity to the rest of the Aprilia stable as he is on the 2023-spec (though is set to get the 2024 chassis at some point this season) Fernandez hasn’t breached into the top 10 on a Sunday yet.

With significant pressure being placed on him by Moto2 frontrunner and US-born racer Joe Roberts for his seat at the American Trackhouse squad, Fernandez faces an uncertain future.

But in Barcelona, after a tough Friday, he managed a first front row – beating a best of ninth in Qatar last year – and said Aprilia helped him to feel like he did in Moto2.

“It is not what we want, we don’t want to crash but we crashed when we were leading,” Fernandez said.

“So, I think we are working so well, day by day I feel more comfortable.

“Today I felt a very big change on the bike, I feel Aprilia helped me a lot. Yesterday was really difficult day, I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike, I felt it really difficult to manage the bike.

“But today I feel comfortable, I feel I can ride easy – I feel like when I was in Moto2, which was important.

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Racing Team

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Ok, I did a mistake, I can’t go back, I have to be focused on what we did, I need to be focused on tomorrow and I will try to do the same tomorrow.

“I think we had the pace, it was super easy.

“The crash was not because I was trying to get the track record, just I crashed due to a mistake. But I was really calm on the bike and I feel super comfortable.”

On the biggest improvements made, Fernandez noted: “We worked a little bit on the set-up from yesterday.

“For me, the main thing is the electronics part. We changed the mind on the electronic, I tried to change also a little bit my style to adapt my style to this kind of track because for me it’s not super easy.

“But also, the big change was the electronics. It’s not [made the throttle delivery] soft, it’s something where I can drive and I don’t need to think about what to do to go fast.

“For me, the main thing is today I can ride like I want and I don’t have to think about what I’m doing. So, this is what we changed.”

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