Although Fernandez missed out on his first MotoGP points by just under four tenths of a second, the Tech 3 KTM  rider produced a more consistent turn of pace compared to the opening two rounds. 

With Qatar and Indonesia providing somewhat of a reality check in regards to how difficult MotoGP is, battling for points should go a long to helping Fernandez gain the momentum he needs to kick-start his campaign

Although no one expected the same level of results as his 2021 Moto2 campaign, Fernandez was at least viewed as the most likely rookie to score points consistently. 

That hasn’t happened thus far as the Spaniard remains scoreless, while team-mate Gardner, Darryn Binder and Marco Bezzecchi have all achieved points finishes. 

Nevertheless, Fernandez is adamant that his performance at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit was a step in the right direction, after claiming ‘I learned how to do a MotoGP race’. 

Fernandez said: “Today I had an amazing start to the race, especially a great first curve. Then when I saw Miguel (Oliveira), I told myself that I had to stay with him in order to learn from him and our bikes. 

“The first part of the race, I made some mistakes that cost me a loss of time, and towards laps 6-7, I took a deep breath and tried to remain calm, focus, and continue with the pace I had, and give it my all. 

“Today, I learned how to do a MotoGP race, I did a clever race, and I am very happy about it, and with the work that the team did. 

“Thank you to them. We must not forget that it is also only my second race here in Argentina, so if you weigh everything together, I am very happy.”

While Fernandez was relatively content with his P16 result, the same could not be said about team-mate Gardner. 

The Australian, who finished one place behind Fernandez, was once again embroiled in a battle with RNF Yamaha rider Binder, just like Qatar. 

Gardner managed to get the better of the South African, but with the fight taking place for 17th, it’s a result that the reigning Moto2 world champion conceded was ‘tough to accept’. 

Gardner said: “I did enjoy the first part of the race, I stayed close to the group and had some nice battles with a couple of riders. I struggled more during the second half unfortunately. 

“I am feeling my progress, but everyone is improving too, so I have to stay positive and continue to work for myself and learn the bike. I take each race one by one and don’t look too far. 

“I enjoy the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit a lot and I have always had good results, so I thought today might have been the turning point for me, but unfortunately it was not, which is a bit tough to accept. I will stay positive, and results will come.” 

Expectations for Fernandez and Gardner going forward?

Even though consistency has been the biggest issue thus far, something all five rookies have been dealing with, Fernandez and Gardner should continue to get quicker as the season goes on. 

The two Moto2 title contenders from last season will also be able to call upon data from the Austrian manufacturer’s factory riders Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, who have both been on the podium this season - in Binder’s case he currently sits P2 in the championship.

Fernandez has shown a knack for improving as the year goes on, whether that be Moto3 or Moto2, so fighting for top tens should be possible towards the mid-season point. 

As for Gardner, the raw speed hasn’t quite been there as often as Fernandez, however, the 24 year-old’s overall experience could be key as it relates to grinding out results and clinching rookie of the year honours. 

A key thorn in their efforts to win rookie of the year honours is likely to be Bezzecchi after the Ducati rider clinched a brilliant ninth place in Argentina. The VR46 academy rider currently leads the way on seven points - one ahead of Binder.