It was another tough day for Team HRC’s Ruben Fernandez, who ended up in sixth overall, after going five-six at the amazing Sumbawa circuit in temperatures that consistently topped 30C on this tropical island in Indonesia.
Coming into the race, there was a lot to look forward to as Fernandez podiumed the last time out in Teutschenthal, Germany and was also on the podium last year here in the inaugural event at this facility. Unfortunately, despite posting good times in the free and timed practice yesterday, he couldn’t put that speed into any of the three races over the two days and was fighting for fifth, rather than for podium positions.
In race one, he was able to round the first lap in sixth place before moving into fifth a couple of laps later. Running a good speed, he tried hard to close up on the riders in front but he couldn’t find a good flow and instead had to fight off a challenge at the end of the race to remain in fifth place.
A better start in race two gave him the opportunity to do better, but a mistake on the sixth corner on lap one dropped him to last position and that made his job extremely difficult in very hot conditions. A number of passes in the first five laps got him inside the top 10 and at one stage he was the fastest rider on the track coming through the field, however, the clock was against him and he had to settle for sixth place after a tough 30+2.
After this weekend, the Honda CRF450R rider remains in fourth place in the 2023 MXGP Championship standings, but he still has a good opportunity to move higher if he does well next week at the first ever MXGP event to be held on the island of Lombok, in what will be a brand new circuit built specifically for this historic race.
Ruben Fernandez 70
"Overall, I’m not happy with how the day turned out because I felt I could do a lot better on this track. I feel it suits my style and I was really excited to get here and show all the Indonesian fans what I was capable of, but instead things didn’t quite go to plan. I never felt like myself out there and although I rode much better in the second race, I was coming from a long way back and could only get back up to sixth. I now have a week before the next event, and I’m extremely motivated to perform better in Lombok."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP
"We had high hopes for Ruben coming into this weekend but unfortunately he just wasn’t able to go out there and ride like we know he can. Conditions weren’t easy with the heat and humidity but he just couldn’t find a good rhythm and with the level the rest of the field is riding at, that makes it very difficult to challenge for the podium positions. Now we will prepare for the Lombok event which is another good opportunity as it is a track that no one has ridden on before. A big thank you to all the Indonesian Honda fans, and to our sponsors Astra Honda who have helped us immensely for this double-header in their country."