At the tough, rutted Teutschenthal circuit in Germany, Team HRC’s Ruben Fernandez put in a gritty performance to take his third podium of the season, on a track that isn’t one of his favourites.
After finishing sixth in the qualification race yesterday, the Spaniard put himself in excellent positions off the start, as his Honda CRF450R rider got round just outside the top three in both races. From there, in race one, he maintained a strong, steady pace on what was proving to be extremely treacherous terrain. Whilst those around him were making mistakes, he kept plugging away, putting in consistent laptimes and eventually ended up in third place.
Given the fact that he’s finished fourth overall on numerous occasions this year, the #70 knew that the battle was only half-won and he still had a lot of work to do to get back to the podium after making the trip there after a victory in Patagonia-Argentina and a third in Spain. Once again, a good start put himself in a great position with just a couple of riders ahead of him but although he was unable to latch on them, he still was pulling away from the rest of the field. With the size of the ruts continuing to grow, momentum was all important but small stalls allowed the rider behind to catch up and with one lap remaining, Fernandez needed to maintain his fourth place in the race to get onto the podium. Putting in one of the best laps of his moto, the #70 withstood all the pressure from the rider in fifth and held on to what was a thoroughly deserved and hard-fought third place overall.
He may have ridden better at other venues without getting on the box, but this showed the determination that Fernandez has, and was just-reward for a season of excellent performances. He now sits just 10 points behind third place in the 2023 MXGP Championship, and with half the season still to race, and plenty of tracks that favour his style, there is the opportunity for many more trips to the podium in this campaign.
Next up is the round in Sumbawa, Indonesia, on June 24-25, where he placed third overall in 2022 on what was the first visit by the GPs to the island. Thousands of fans came out during that weekend and Fernandez will be looking to put on a show for them once again, on the impressive circuit that he thoroughly enjoyed last year.
Ruben Fernandez 70
"I’m so glad to be up on the podium as I had to fight hard this weekend to make it happen and I feel like I have deserved to be here after previous performances. It’s funny that this weekend I didn’t really have feeling for the track and yet I’m on the podium and at other venues I’ve felt much better and not made it. Still, it shows that every weekend I am giving myself a chance and that I can’t give up. I did make things a bit harder for myself at the end of the second moto but I held on and it was enough. Big thanks to the whole of Team HRC for supporting me and helping me out because it was a difficult weekend but we kept working hard and I’m looking forward to the small break before we head to Indonesia, which is a track I like."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP
"We knew coming into this weekend that it would be tough for Ruben, as this isn’t the style of track that he likes. However, he kept his focus throughout all the sessions, trying to improve and putting himself in a position to make it up on the podium. A third in race one was an impressive result and then when he was running in fourth in race two, it maybe wasn’t the cleanest performance but he put his head down and pushed until the very end. This is his third podium of the season and we are very proud of how he’s performed so far, and we are excited for how he’ll do in the second half of the year."