motogp misano: poncharal: raul fernandez an ‘exceptional rider, bright future’

It hasn’t worked out for Raul Fernandez and Tech3 KTM, but Herve Poncharal is confident that the young Spaniard has a bright future in MotoGP.

Fernandez formed half of a touted rookie dream team after rising to the premier class alongside Moto2 champion Remy Gardner this season.

The young Spaniard had beaten even Marc Marquez’s rookie Moto2 achievements as he battled the Australian for the intermediate class title until the final round.

Fernandez had initially seemed reluctant to jump straight to MotoGP but, in the face of growing interest from Yamaha and Aprilia, KTM confirmed his place in the all-new Tech3 line-up.

However, according to KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer, Fernandez decided by round six that his future would be away from the RC16 and was soon being earmarked for one of the new RNF Aprilia rides in 2023.

Forced out of Portimao and Jerez due to a hand injury, Fernandez went on to take his first MotoGP point – the last of the five rookies to do so – with 15th place in Catalunya (round 9), then 12th in Germany.

But momentum has slipped away again since the summer break, with 21st (Silverstone) and 18th (Red Bull Ring) places.

Released from his KTM option, Fernandez has signed a two-year deal to race for RNF Aprilia alongside another current KTM rider, Miguel Oliveira.

    motogp misano: poncharal: raul fernandez an ‘exceptional rider, bright future’

    Poncharal: ‘I am confident that he has a bright future’

    “Tech3 KTM Factory Racing would like to wish Raul Fernandez the best of luck in MotoGP for next season,” said Tech3 team manager Poncharal. “Our paths will split at the end of the season, but we were honoured to have the Moto2 Vice-Champion joining us for his debut in the MotoGP class this year.

    “Although the results were not the ones expected by both parties in the first half of the season, Raul remained very professional and it was great working with him. He is an exceptional rider and I am confident that he has a bright future in the category.

    “We still have seven races left in 2022 so we will continue to work hard together to finish our adventure in the right way. Now that he has his future clear and less pressure on his shoulders, I hope that he will enjoy his last few months with us, and hopefully this includes good results.

    “We look forward to heading to Misano this week.”

    It seems Fernandez won’t be the only rider leaving Tech3 at the end of this season, with Gardner revealing last time in Austria that “it doesn’t look like there’s anything” for him in MotoGP next year.

    Pol Espargaro has signed to ride one of the rebranded GASGAS Tech3 bikes. The other seat is still officially available after Oliveira declined the offer, but KTM’s Moto2 title contender Augusto Fernandez is rumoured to have moved into contention.

    Gardner has scored nine points so far this season.

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