#ValenciaGP - November 24, 2023

That’s a wrap for the last Friday of the 2023 MotoGP™ World Championship after Augusto Fernandez and Pol Espargaro both reunited with the familiar layout of Valencia at the Gran Premio de la Comunitat de Valenciana. In the middle of a high climax as Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin began the final battle for the most wanted crown in two wheel-racing, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 riders were hoping to finish their 2023 season on a positive note. Augusto Fernandez completed the day in eighteenth, and teammate Pol Espargaro was twentieth.

Track conditions were quite different to the ones the paddock has been used to since the start of the oversea tour mid-september, as just 15 degrees in the air welcomed back MotoGP™ riders in Europe this morning with Free Practice 1 at 10:45 local time (GMT+1). Pumped to race at home in front of family, friends and fans, Augusto Fernandez took a positive start to his Valencia GP campaign after taking eighth of FP1 with a 1’30.567 (0.376 seconds from the fastest time). In the afternoon, all riders increased their pace as track conditions got warmer, and times started logically went down and were more competitive than the earlier session. After an early crash into the Practice, the Spaniard managed to gain a few hundredth in the later Practice, but his time in 1’30.445 left him in P18 of the one hour-session. The Mallorcan will have to go through qualifying 1 on Saturday morning, as he targets a good grid position for what will be his last race as a MotoGP™ rookie, before he passes the torch to new teammate Pedro Acosta next Tuesday. 

For Pol Espargaro, the weekend is set to be an emotional one as the Spaniard will take on a new role in 2024 within the Pierer Mobility testing program. That said, the beloved number 44 was looking forward to racing one last time as a full-time MotoGP™ rider in Valencia, in front of family, friends and fans. As the season finale kicked off with Free Practice 1 this morning, Espargaro took eleventh of the first session with a 1’30.874 as he was second Pierer Mobility bike of the session. In the afternoon, the Spaniard focused on his race preparation before the time-attack slot at the end of the Practice session. He managed to ride a 1’30.940, but as he kept pushing, he lost the front and crashed, which put an end to his session. The Spaniard will look forward to another free practice session in the morning at 10:10 local time (GMT+1) to find ways to improve, before the final qualifying shootout starts at 10:50. Then we will see the last Tissot Sprint of the season in the afternoon, with lights scheduled to go out at 15:00 local time.

Position: 18th
Time: 1'30.445
Laps: 24
"The afternoon was not so easy, especially with my crash at the beginning, but then we managed to get back on pace, even if the feeling was not perfect. In the time attack, I felt very bad, especially with the front tyre, which was really strange. We will analyse tonight what has happened, and work a lot to make a huge step tomorrow to be in the fight for Q2, and try to do a good qualifying.”

Position: 21st
Time: 1'30.940
Laps: 22
"We had a fast crash as we lost the front in the Practice. We have not been feeling very well with the front for a while now, so this is a consequence of the issues we have been having. Overall, we are not amazing, but we are not bad at all, so we will give our best tomorrow to try and be in the Q2, even if it will be a difficult task."


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