Riola Sardo proves a tough test for Fernandez

Riola Sardo Team HRC MXGP Fernandez

After an impressive sixth place in yesterday’s qualification race, Team HRC’s Ruben Fernandez had a much tougher time of things in the GP races of the MXGP of Sardegna, making mistakes early-on while well-placed and struggling to break into the top 10.

Two good starts gave Fernandez the chance to repeat yesterday’s results at this tough, deep, dune-sand circuit in Riola Sardo, but crashes really cost him any chance of scoring a decent points haul and maintaining his second-place in the 2023 MXGP World Championship standings.

In the first race, he was battling with the top riders just inside the top 10 and looking to move forward, but just as things were going well, he crashed in the same spot as in the qualification race and dropped way down the field. As he was working his back way through, a collision with another rider meant that he had to pull off due to contact on his left-hand. It was a disappointing way to end the moto but it meant that he had plenty of energy to burn on this tough terrain in race two.

Riola Sardo Team HRC MXGP Fernandez

Once again, a good start saw him round the second corner in fourth place and he was fighting hard to maintain that position amongst the best motocross riders on the planet. Unfortunately, for a third time, he made a mistake in the turn after the pitlane and ended up dead last. Knowing that he had a lot of work to do to get some good points, he set about charging through the field, picking off riders at regular intervals and moving his way up the table. With a couple of laps remaining he had got up to 15th place, which was a decent effort but the Spaniard wasn’t done there, overtaking four riders in the last two laps to finish 11th. It wasn’t the place he wanted, but it was still a good recovery and showed he does have speed in the sand, a surface he admits isn’t his favourite.

So after his victory in Patagonia-Argentina in round one, and this tough test in Sardinia for round two, the Honda CRF450R rider sits in seventh place in championship. It’s still a good start for Fernandez and he’ll be expecting to be back fighting for podium positions at the next round in Frauenfeld, Switzerland which should be more like the terrain that he enjoys riding.

HRC MXGP Ruben Fernandez 70

Ruben Fernandez 70

"It was definitely a difficult day today, with some mistakes early-on in both motos costing me a lot of positions. In race one, I was inside the top 10 when I crashed in the same corner as yesterday, dropping me right down the field. Then I crashed again with another rider and unfortunately I hurt my hand a bit so I decided it would be safer to pull off the track. Then in race two when I was around the fifth, I made the same mistake in the same corner on the first lap and remounted in last. I’m pretty annoyed to have done that, but from then on, I tried my best to make up as many places as I could and work my way through the field. Every lap I seemed to gain a spot and then in the last couple of laps I moved from 15th to 11th so I’m happy with that, but overall disappointed in the way today went. I know I need to work on some things in the sand and that’s what I’ll continue to do. A big thank you to all the team for their support and I hope I’ll be back nearer the front in Switzerland in a couple of weeks’ time."

HRC MXGP Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP

Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP

"Unfortunately, it was a tough day once again in Sardinia. Riola Sardo certainly hasn’t been kind to Team HRC but we won’t dwell on that and instead focus on getting things right in Switzerland at the next round. Ruben knows what he is capable of, and he showed some really good signs yesterday, so the talent is there, he just made mistakes at the wrong time and on this track that is really costly."

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