After just missing out at the two previous rounds, Team HRC’s Ruben Fernandez got the podium position he so richly deserved with five-two results at the MXGP of Spain – his home GP. Cheered on by a huge crowd at the Arroyomolinos circuit near Madrid, the Spaniard did exactly what he needed to do in race two and secured his second podium of this extremely impressive 2023 MXGP campaign.
There is always a lot of pressure at the home GP, and after narrowly missing out last weekend at his ‘local’ GP in Portugal, the Honda CRF450R rider was determined not to let that happen again and he rode excellently for the duration of both races to put himself on the third step of the podium.
In race one, a bad start left him with a lot of work to do, but he quickly moved forward into sixth place on lap one. With the rutted track proving very difficult to make passes on, Fernandez was only able to make up one more spot in the rest of the race, receiving the chequered flag in fifth place. In Argentina, he also finished fifth in race one before going onto win the GP so he knew it was possible, but he knew he had to get out of the gate much better in the second moto to stand a chance.
And that’s exactly what he did, missing out on the holeshot by a few centimetres, but quickly moving into the lead right after the line. From there, he led the first half of the race, but not quite being able to break away from the chasing pack and at the midpoint he relinquished the lead. He tried to follow as best he could and by doing that, pulled out a little gap to third. For the rest of the race, he was cheered on by the vocal Spanish crowd and when he crossed the line, he was delighted to know that would be given a chance to stand in front of all of them on the podium.
Not only that, but the 38-points he secured was enough to move him into third place in the championship which is an excellent achievement after just six rounds of the series. We now have a weekend off before resuming in Villars-sous-Ecot, France on May 20-21 where Fernandez will once again be looking to continue his great form and cement his position in the MXGP standings.
Ruben Fernandez 70
"It is great to get up on the podium at my home GP. I knew I had to ride really well after the fifth in race one, and that’s what I did. I got out front early and led for a good amount of time, eventually finishing in second which was good enough for third on the podium. All the support I received really helped and I heard it all around the track when I was riding so that gave me that little bit of extra boost that I needed. After two fourth place finishes in a row, I really wanted to make the podium happen and it was just an amazing feeling standing there with all the fans cheering my name. It is something I’ll never forget. A big thanks to all the team for helping me and I’m really looking forward to the next round in France."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP
"Ruben once again proved that he is one of the best riders in the world, leading laps and riding smart and consistent pace. We are all so happy that he was able to enjoy a home podium, and it is great that he also moved into third place in the championship as well. It seems he is improving every week and we can’t wait to continue that progress and see how high he can go. We now have a weekend off so he can savour this race a bit and let it all sink in, before he has to prepare for the challenge of France."