#FrenchGP - May 10, 2024

The much-awaited track action of the Michelin® Grand Prix de France finally got underway on Friday, after Thursday already saw French fans turning up in high numbers at the Bugatti Circuit. Red Bull GASGAS Tech3’s Pedro Acosta and Augusto Fernandez were eager to race on the team’s turf, and were both extremely motivated to do well in France. Acosta’s premier class debuts in Le Mans could hardly have been better, as the rookie spent the opening day within the fastest riders, and concluded day one third second fastest of an extremely tight Practice, with seventeen riders less than one second from each other. Fernandez was sixteenth, despite being just 0.855 seconds from the fastest lap.

Of course, we do not need to introduce him anymore. Pedro Acosta, MotoGP™’s new sensation, got an ideal start to his French Grand Prix campaign on Friday. In the morning's Free Practice 1, the young shark set a promising pace as he ended the opening session second fastest with a 1’31.658, just 0.237 seconds off Jorge Martin, after brilliantly saving at multiple times a few crashes. The first important moment of the weekend then arrived at 15:00 local time with the one-hour practice, and the track conditions were ideal as the sun continued to shine over the Bugatti circuit. Early into the session, Acosta set a lap in 1’31.475 which allowed him to provisionally settle within the top 3 for most of the session. Times went faster as the end of the session approached, but Acosta did not shy away and gave an extra push to improve to 1’30.575 in the final seconds. The rookie closed Friday third fastest, and qualified directly to Q2. Next target will be to try qualifying within the front, before the Tissot Sprint in the afternoon at 15:00 local time.

The last time he was in Le Mans, Augusto Fernandez lived the best moment of his MotoGP™ career, after he took the 2023 checkered flag in fourth, his best result in the premier class. The season start has not been the easiest for the Spaniard, but heading to a track that he enjoys a lot was going to be a big boost for him. After twenty-two laps in Free Practice 1 during which he looked into applying the findings from the Jerez Test, Fernandez finished seventeenth of the opening session, just 1.012 seconds from the top. In the afternoon, the GASGAS Tech3 rider was able to work out a few changes on the bike to help him make significant progress. With ten minutes to go into the session, Fernandez was up in twelfth with a 1’31.813, and managed to grab a few more hundredths within the final laps to reach a best lap in 1’31.243. Fernandez closes the day in sixteenth, despite being just 0.855 seconds from the fastest lap, and will have to go through the pre-qualifying stage on Saturday morning at 10:50 local time.

Position: 3rd
Time: 1.30.575
Laps: 26
"Normally, Friday morning is a bit more difficult for us because we have to start from somewhere of course, but today was somehow a bit easier for us. Yesterday, I was saying that Le Mans is a good track for us, even if I never had great results here, but I enjoy riding in France. I think that we made a big step compared to Jerez, the feeling is much better, we made some improvements with the electronics, so we are really happy with how the day went, and we will look to continue progressing tomorrow."

Position: 16th
Time: 1'31.243
Laps: 23
"Coming from the Jerez Test, we had a new plan with a different bike setup, so today was about putting this plan into action, and issues are not going to be solved in one session, especially because we are coming from a difficult situation. We need more laps, but the feeling has been much better than the last rounds today, and I am feeling happy with the work. The bike is a bit shorter now, so we need to improve in the braking, adapt to its reactivity, but we are working on it and hopefully we will start feeling a lot better.


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