Fabulous Fernandez wins opening round of the 2023 MXGP World Championship2023-03-13 03:01
With a stunning second moto victory, Ruben Fernandez took the overall win at the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina, sparking scenes of delight as he crossed the line in what was his debut ride for Team HRC.
The Villa La Angostura track is well-known as being one of the best venues on the world championship calendar and with a massive Spanish-speaking fanbase in attendance, Fernandez had plenty of support throughout this opening weekend of the season.
Starting with the Saturday practice sessions, the #70 showed he was right up there with the top guys, always challenging the top five and putting himself in a strong position when they lined up for the qualification race, which this year will count for points in the championship standings, but not the GP overall. First place receives 10 points, second place nine and then that continues all the way down to 10th place gaining one point, so with a solid fourth place, he gained seven points and set himself up nicely for the Sunday motos.
In race one, a great start meant he swept into the lead around the first corner, much to the delight of the Argentinian supporters. Keeping a good pace, he led for five laps before the second-placed rider made an impressive pass. Still, he kept with him and was riding well and looking good for a podium spot before a small mistake dropped him down to fifth near the end.
Knowing that he’d have to ride well to even get himself onto the podium, the Honda CRF450R once again showed its power as Fernandez took the lead after the first turn. This time, there he had no intention of relinquishing that lead and instead he went about his moto with 30 minutes of flawless riding. It was a very impressive performance and one that fully deserved to give him his first ever MXGP race win, and his first ever GP overall. It was a proud moment for the Spaniard, and one that he will never forget, and he now heads to Sardinia in a couple of weeks’ time looking to continue his good form in the deep sand of Riola Sardo on March 25-26.
Ruben Fernandez 70
It is unbelievable to have won this race and overall. When they told me I had won the GP, it was crazy, especially after the crash in race one when I was in second. It has been a long journey to get here, and I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone. It has been great working with all of Team HRC and it feels like a family already and to get all their support throughout means a lot to me. Winning the GP is a special feeling and I am really just so happy.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager - MXGP
What a start to Ruben’s time with Team HRC! He has worked so hard over the winter to be in this position so he deserves a lot of credit, and then to put it together here is amazing. He certainly didn’t make it easy after race one, but he came out and rode flawlessly in race two, taking the victory and the overall. It was just such an impressive performance, and a great way to start his year and a great moment for the whole team who all work so hard to make moments like this possible.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
1 Prado Garcia Jorge 61 SPA 25 Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing 34:24.711
2 Febvre Romain 3 FRA 22 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing 0:04.320
3 Renaux Maxime 959 FRA 20 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team 0:06.803
4 Herlings Jeffrey 84 NDL 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 0:08.753
5 Fernandez Ruben 70 SPA 16 Team HRC - MXGP 0:10.511
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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