Contract worry admission from at-risk MotoGP rider as silly season starts

“I see what the rest are doing with the bike. So, no excuses"

Augusto Fernandez, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March
Augusto Fernandez, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March

Augusto Fernandez is open about his contract worry as the rider market gets interesting.

The Tech3 GASGAS rider is into his second season in MotoGP.

But his stunning new teammate, Pedro Acosta, has set the bar incredibly high and created a difficult situation for Fernandez.

While Acosta has twice been on the podium, Fernandez has struggled this year so far.

He has finished 17th, 11th and 14th in the three grands prix before this weekend’s Spanish MotoGP.

“We need to [resolve this] now,” Fernandez said about his below-par form.

“We need to sign contracts, to keep on…

“I would love to stay on the same bike next year because I believe in the project.

“I want to show them - prove to them - that I am a winner, and that I can win with their bike.”

Fernandez’s contract expires at the end of this season.

KTM, meanwhile, have Brad Binder secured longer-term and are believed to have an option to keep Acosta.

Last year when Acosta demanded a promotion after winning Moto2, it was originally thought that Fernandez would be sacrificed.

Instead, in a huge show of faith, KTM rewarded Fernandez with a new contract for 2024 and demoted Pol Espargaro.

The 2022 Moto2 champion Fernandez has therefore seen first-hand that KTM can be ruthless when making contract calls.

The key, he knows, is to sort out his on-track performance.

“I want to win. I’m here to win,” Fernandez insisted.

“I’m world champion and I work to win. So I don’t like to be at the back of the grid.

“We expected a lot better. Because we finished the season not bad.

I was close to the top KTM quite a lot of times.

“So I expected a lot more for the start of the season with the new bike, with the experience.

“I am struggling to even get the speed. I don’t have the speed yet.

“In the past I have faced this kind of situation.

“My career has been like this - one year very good, a couple of years bad.

“But I always come back.

“I don’t feel good with the bike. But I see potential. I see that the bike is better.

“I see what the rest are doing with the bike. So, no excuses.

“I need to find my base with the bike, and get my speed back.

“It’s a relief, kind of. Because of course, I need to do it. But the bike can do these things.

“I am open to change whatever. I want to be there. I want to win.”

The presence of Fernandez’s new teammate Acosta has complicated matters.

But Fernandez insists that being so dramatically outperformed could work in his favour.

“Luckily we have Pedro in the same box, going very fast since preseason,” Fernandez said.

“So I am able to compare things, understand a little bit quicker what I am missing, what I need, or don’t need, or where I am already fast.

“Having fast teammates is bad for one thing, because it is a lot of fight. But it’s good to recover when you are lost.

“You can recover quicker when you have these kinds of teammates.”

Fernandez is one of many riders heading into their home race, the Spanish MotoGP at Jerez, this weekend as the European leg of the MotoGP season begins.

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