Raul Fernandez: “I had no grip, I’m very disappointed, second group was realistic”

Raul Fernandez believes he could have secured a top ten at le Mans had it not been for a lack of grip.

Raul Fernandez
Raul Fernandez

Raul Fernandez claimed P11 for the Trackhouse Aprilia team, on a day where team-mate Miguel Oliveira had to retire from the French MotoGP.

Fernandez eventually finished the race 11 seconds down on Alex Marquez, however, the Spaniard believes he could have been part of the battle for sixth.

“The race today was very complicated,” said Fernandez. “Yesterday, my ninth place in the Sprint was very real, today I was just lucky to end up in P11 and finishing the race.

“The feeling that I had yesterday and this morning was just gone in the race. I had no grip - I couldn’t manage the race well because my pace was just too slow. 

“I’m very disappointed after today; I wanted to finish the race in the second group, which was realistic.

“Yesterday we had the pace to stay with them but today I was very slow, couldn’t do the same lap times like yesterday and I simply had no feeling.

“I couldn’t really use the rear brake and it was very difficult to manage 27 laps like this. Day by day, we are working well and improved but today was honestly not our best day.

“We have to analyse this well now and continue to improve in Barcelona.”

For Oliveira, a technical issue early on prevented the Portuguese rider from showing his true pace.

Despite continuing with the issue for another ten laps, Oliveira ultimately called it a day.

Oliveira said: “The race was quite good, I was having a decent pace but soon into the race I had a technical issue with the exhaust.

“Then I continued for about 10 laps with this problem to a point where it caused me a proper limit to the performance in terms of how the electronics were managing engine brake, torque delivery, etc.

“So, I had to retire the bike to avoid doing further damage - at that point I didn’t know what it was but, for sure, by the difference in the sound I could tell that it was something related to the exhaust. 

“The team is still investigating it and together we’ll see what we can do to avoid this in the future.”

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