Fernandez victorious in Portuguese Qualification

2023-05-11 06:00
In front of a lot of his supporters, Team HRC’s Ruben Fernandez took an excellent victory in the MXGP of Portugal qualification race, giving him 10 valuable championship points. The Spaniard, who lives just a couple of hours away from the Agueda circuit had been strong in each of the sessions and he showed just how fast he can be on a tricky track that is running in reverse from previous years, taking his first qualifying race win of the season.

Having got second gate pick after timed practice, Fernandez used that to his advantage, keeping tight on the inside and rounding the first 180 in second place. From there he stalked the leader for a few laps, working out where to make his move before a strong block pass saw him move into first. He quickly opened up a few seconds advantage over the rest of the field and he seemed to be cruising to victory. However, just before the two-lap board came out, a couple of small mistakes gave incentive to the rider behind and the gap quickly narrowed for what had the potential to be a couple of nervous laps. Instead, the Honda CRF450R rider put the hammer down and posted the fastest lap of the race, almost a second quicker than anyone else, showing he had plenty in reserve and allowing him to take the chequered flag, much to the delight of the majority of this Portuguese crowd.

After a race win and overall at the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina in round one, this result was further proof of just how well the #70 has been performing this year and it now gives him first gate-pick and a lot of confidence for the two GP-scoring motos tomorrow. With weather conditions looking to be similar, Fernandez will be full of confidence as he tries to become the first rider to win two MXGP World Championship rounds in 2023.

Ruben Fernandez 70

I knew coming into this weekend that I was feeling good and riding well, and I really stood a good chance of getting back on the podium if I put everything together. Obviously, this is only Saturday, but to take the qualification victory is a great start and gives me the pole position for the two motos tomorrow which is very important at this track. I had a lot of support throughout the race which is an awesome feeling and I hope that they will be supporting me like for the races. A big thank you to all those fans, and to all of the team who continue to work so hard to help me out, and I can’t wait to go again and try and get another victory!

Ruben Fernandez

Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager - MXGP

It was such an impressive ride from Ruben, making an excellent pass for the lead and then holding off the challenge at the end with the fastest lap of the race. It was a strong statement and showed the rest of the field that he is the rider to beat here. In previous years he has looked fast at this circuit, but he hasn’t been able to put it all together, but today he proved once again that he is one of the best motocross riders on the planet. It is great to see him enjoying his riding, and enjoying his time at the track, interacting with all the fans who have come out to support him. Now, we will continue to work hard and make sure everything is setup for tomorrow where he can hopefully do the same again.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

Qualifying Race
Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
1 Fernandez Ruben 70 SPA 10 Team HRC - MXGP 24:47.439
2 Herlings Jeffrey 84 NDL 9 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 0:04.327
3 Vlaanderen Calvin 10 NDL 8 Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing 0:23.550
4 Seewer Jeremy 91 SWI 7 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team 0:25.649
5 Febvre Romain 3 FRA 6 Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP 0:27.015

Source: Honda Racing Corporation

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