18 action-packed Moto3 laps of the flat, fast and dusty Losail International Circuit ensured that the new MotoGP season was launched in captivating fashion in Qatar today. Husqvarna Motorcycles was in the heart of the dispute for the first points of the campaign with the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team fielding Romano Fenati and rookie Adrian Fernandez on the fetching white FR 250 GPs machinery.
During practice and qualification both the Italian and the Spaniard showed impressive competitiveness; Fenati missed out on a qualification lap attempt that would have placed the #55 high on the starting grid for Sunday’s by just one second. The former GP winner just couldn’t get across the line fast enough on Saturday evening to make the time count.
Starting the race from 18th – and Fernandez in 22nd on his full-time world championship debut – the riders headed into windy and difficult conditions. The breeze not only affected the handling of all the Moto3 motorcycles but also blew sandy and dust across the track surface. Fenati latched onto the busy front-running cluster in the first minutes of the race but was adjudged to have jumped the start and was penalised with a double long lap penalty. Despite having to claw back from the time deficit twice, Fenati fought his way back into touch with the leaders on the final lap and bustled his way to 11th.
Fernandez completed an encouraging Grand Prix amidst the group that Fenati spent most of the race trying to catch. He also had to make a long lap penalty for exceeding track limits which cost valuable time. The youngster finally crossed the finish line just outside of the points in 17th.
The Sterilgarda Max Racing Team will have only a matter of days before they can attempt Losail once more: the Tissot Grand Prix of Doha takes place next Sunday.
Romano Fenati: “I’m happy with the speed of the bike: the FR 250 GP was incredible. I was not happy about the long lap penalty because, for me, I did not make the jump start. We have to check. Next weekend I think we will be very fast and we will try to work on this direction.”
Adrian Fernandez: “The start of the race was difficult but my feeling on the bike was really good. The conditions were tough and I couldn’t understand why the track felt so slippery sometimes. It was hard to get on the gas by the end. We improved from the test and step-by-step we will get closer to the first group.”
Max Biaggi, Team Principal: “The first race of the year was not what we hoped in terms of positions but in racing anything can happen. For Adrian Moto3 is a new experience. He is very young and we have just started to work with him and to get the best out of him. He has shown a good attitude and potential. With Romano we paid for that mistake during the quali and it cost us a better position in the race. Other than that, he made a very good comeback and was able to finish in the points which made us happy. Without the penalty it could have been much better but now we’ll work hard to make improvements, cut down the mistakes and hope for more in race two here.”
Results – 2021 Moto3 FIM World Championship, Round 1
1. Jaume Masia (KTM) 38:29.620, 2. Pedro Acosta (KTM) +0.042, 3. Darryn Binder (Honda)+0.094, 11. Romano Fenati (Husqvarna) +2.316, 17. Adrian Fernandez (Husqvarna) +22.187
World Championship standings
1. Jaume Masia (KTM) 25pts; 2. Pedro Acosta (KTM) 20pts; 3. Darryn Binder (Honda)16pts; 11. Romano Fenati (Husqvarna) 5 pts; 17. Alonso Lopez (Husqvarna) 0 pts.