The MotoGP rider who is ‘on the back foot’: “He had a really rough test!”

Within the KTM stable, one rider has shone in MotoGP preseason but another has struggled...

Augusto Fernandez
Augusto Fernandez

Augusto Fernandez’s struggles in Qatar were in noticeable contrast to his new teammate Pedro Acosta.

Acosta has stunned onlookers throughout preseason ahead of his rookie MotoGP season.

The teenager, entering the premier class with Tech3 GASGAS as the Moto2 champion, has drawn comparisons to a young Marc Marquez.

Simon Crafar, the ex-rider and now a broadcaster, could no longer hide his admiration for Acosta: “It’s too late! The cat’s out of the bag!

“We’re all excited about Pedro. I was trying to play it down…

“He has just amazed everyone at both tests, Sepang and here.

“The lack of mistakes, the brilliant feedback to his team, how he looks on the bike, the lap times…

“He is just doing everything. Quite amazing.

“He’s out there with experienced riders looking like he’s meant to be there, fighting with them on track.”

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But, on the other side of the Tech3 GASGAS box, there has been difficulty.

“The contrast? Augusto is a good rider. He showed that he deserves to keep the job,” Crafar said.

“He started the year on the back foot, a really rough test in Sepang.

“Then, [in Qatar], he had bad luck. His engine went so spent the second half of the [first] day with one bike. Then he wrote that bike off, at the end of the day, before the time attacks so we don’t know what he could do.

“Then his mechanics had a busy night. He was the first guy on track to check his bike which had been repaired.

“It still hasn’t come together for him.

“So, I just hope that it doesn’t continue like this, and he doesn’t have a really tough year.

“He’s a very good rider, a great kid, he’s hungry. He deserves better than he’s getting at the moment.”

Acosta’s entry into MotoGP caused KTM to scramble last year to find him a place.

But it was notable that, during this period, they extended the contract of Fernandez in a clear show of faith.

Fernandez was, at the time, KTM’s only out-of-contract rider for 2024.

Instead, they opted to replace Pol Espargaro.

Fernandez finished his rookie year in 17th last season, with a best result of P4 at Le Mans, but he now faces stiff competition from new teammate Acosta.

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