Raul Fernandez: ‘2024 bike won’t be one-second faster’

Raul Fernandez signs off his 2023-spec Aprilia career with tenth in Germany, RS-GP24 debut next time at Silverstone.

Raul Fernandez, 2024 German MotoGP
Raul Fernandez, 2024 German MotoGP

Raul Fernandez is keeping a lid on his expectations ahead of an upgrade to the 2024 Aprilia RS-GP from the next MotoGP round at Silverstone.

The Trackhouse rider has been the only Aprilia competitor left on the 2023-spec machine this season.

But that hasn’t stopped him from qualifying on the front row twice, in Catalunya and Germany.

Barcelona saw Fernandez fall from the lead of the Sprint, then claim sixth in the race, but his strong qualifying counted for far less at the Sachsenring.

Rising front tyre pressure saw Fernandez drop to 14th in the Sprint, before completing his final race on the RS-GP23 with tenth in the grand prix.

“There was a mistake… For some reason it was not the correct pressure to get the maximum potential of the tyre,” Fernandez said on Saturday evening. “But we are a team, we win or lose together and also they gave me a good bike to qualify on the front row.”

But rear tyre grip proved the limiting factor in the grand prix.

For the first 15 laps I was there, fighting with all the Ducatis and Miguel,” said Fernandez, who was directly behind Oliveira in eighth during the middle stages.

“But the last 15 laps to the end I had a lot of problem with the tyre. It is also [to do with] the [2023] bike. The pace was quite slow. But anyway, I did the maximum and we finished the top ten.

“I had a nice fight with Pedro, Brad and Marco. But I didn’t have anything to try to overtake them. But always when you fight with the people like them you always can improve.”

Fernandez now looks to the future and a race debut on the 2024 RS-GP.

Although his engine spec will be unchanged, due to the homologation rules, Fernandez (like Oliveira) is expected to receive a new 2024 mid-season aero update for the British GP.

But performance-wise, he doesn’t expect a night-and-day difference.

“It is not one second faster,” Fernandez said of the ’24 bike, which he briefly tried at the Jerez test in April. "But maybe when we had to save the tyre, with the new bike it's easier.

“I tried it in just one test for two runs, so I don't know what I can expect. [But] surely, if Aprilia have this new bike it’s because they saw something positive.

“Also the lap times compared with last year are quite strong. So yeah, I believe that the [new] bike is a little bit better [but] for sure it’s not one second faster.”

Oliveira’s strong Sachsenring weekend means he has now leapfrogged ahead of Fernandez for 13th in the riders’ standings. Both are yet to sign for 2025.

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