For the second time this year MotoGP ventured to sunny climes in the south of Portugal and to the coastal town of Portimao. The drops, climbs, blind-entry corners and technical challenge of the Algarve International Circuit was a familiar test for the teams and the Sterilgarda Max Racing crew at the Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve.
Romano Fenati immediately gone down to work and despite windy and chilly air in Portugal was the hottest rider in the first two Free Practice sessions to head the sheets after the first day of activity. Come Saturday though it was rookie Adrian Fernandez – benefitting from the visit seven months earlier and able to apply his settings and knowledge to the challenge during qualification – who excelled. The Spaniard shredly placed himself amidst a busy group in the final minute of Q2 to make the most of the tow and rocket to his best-ever qualification. 3rd place allowed Fernandez to roll his FR 250 GP onto the front row of the grid for the first time.
On Sunday morning a large group formed at the front of the Moto3 contest as 21 laps of the 4.6km layout would decide the podium positions. Fernandez was initially running with the leaders but keep a consistent pace to circulate on the edge of the top ten. Less than three seconds split all the riders vying for championship points down to 15th. Fenati was also in the fray and increased his pace and track condition to classify 7th: less than two seconds away from race winner Pedro Acosta by the conclusion of the tense and exciting spectacle that witness some late crashes. Fernandez was satisfied with 11th.
The results allowed Fenati to reassume 4th place in the world championship standings and sit just 12 points away from the top three. Fernandez is 23rd after pushing up his points tally to 28. The Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana will draw 2021 MotoGP to close in the traditional finale venue of the Ricardo Tormo Circuit.
Romano Fenati: “I’m happy because we reduced the gap to 3rd in the championship and we were fast in the race. For sure 7th is not our target but we came back from 20th on the first lap! We want the podium, and we have one more chance to do it this season.”
Adrian Fernandez: “I had a crash in warm-up but I tried to keep calm and managed the rear tyre in the race. It was great to run at the front for a while and experience that in Moto3. Five laps before the end I lost the chance to go for the win but we made progress this weekend so a big thanks to the team.”
Max Biaggi, Team Principal: “The race was not the one we expected, and we hoped Adrian would be able to stay closer to the front but we had both riders in the points today and that was a positive thing. Romano took a long time to come back to the front and we had some fortune to end up with 7th. One more round to go and he can still fight for 3rd in the championship and this is very important. I hope he can make it with a strong race in Valencia. Overall today: good but could have been better.”
Results – 2021 Moto3 World Championship, Round 17
1. Pedro Acosta (KTM) 38:04.339, 2. Andrea Migno (Honda) +0.354. 3. Niccolo Antontelli (KTM) +0.880 7. Romano Fenati (Husqvarna) +1.972, 13. Adrian Fernandez (Husqvarna) +18.050
World Championship standings
1. Pedro Acosta (KTM) 259pts; 2. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 213pts; 3. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 168pts; 4. Romano Fenati (Husqvarna) 156 pts; 23. Adrian Fernandez (Husqvarna) 28 pts.