MotoGP Valencia: Moto2 Champion Fernandez ‘proud of strange career’

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez heads to MotoGP on Tuesday as 2022 Moto2 World Champion.

Securing the Ajo team’s second successive title in as many years - both in the Riders and Teams’ categories - Fernandez followed his teammate Pedro Acosta for a commanding KTM one-two in Valencia’s race. His title rival Ai Ogura having crashed out of contention nine laps in.

Nine podiums, four wins and two pole positions across 2022 secured the outright celebrations for the former European Junior Cup Champion.

“It’s been an amazing year,” Fernandez confirmed from circuit Ricardo Tormo. “I really enjoyed the race after the first laps.

“Honestly, today I felt the pressure out there on the first laps, and a bit of frustration because I knew I had more speed but I was being too careful. I saw the fight between Alonso [Lopez] and Pedro and knew they were fighting for Rookie of the Year, they were fighting hard. It was hard to pass them. I knew it was enough, but risky. But I knew I had more pace than everyone except maybe Pedro.

“I’m sorry for Ai and his crash,” he continued on his late season rival. “He was pushing hard, but after that I forgot about everything. I did my race and pace, just tried to finished the season with a win and I went for it.

“Pedro was super fast in practice, like me, but with a bit extra,” he continued on his rookie teammate and eventual race winner. “I’m happy with the race because I pushed to the end and I tried to push him to the last corner. It was an awesome race and I’m super happy for him also to get the Rookie title, and for the team to win the Teams’.

“In Australia we were so close to having a good chance for the rest of the races, the season,” he admitted after the Phillip Island crash, “and for me it was also tough in Malaysia. On Sunday, during the race, it was my hardest because in Australia, okay it’s my fault but I still have chances, nothing lost and only a few points with two races to fight again. But in Malaysia where he was fighting for the win and I was struggling to get into the top five, I think that was my longest and toughest race of the year.”

Having progressed through the WorldSBK and European paddocks to the World Championship in 2017, Fernandez’ initial promotion stalled before a mid-season turn of luck in 2018 harnessed his intermediate class potential.

“I’m proud of how we, as a family, got to here,” he said of his, at times, challenging route to MotoGP. “My ‘strange’ career, my way to the World Championship and then to securing my place here. Every step, even the bad years - after 2019 when we’d been super competitive, before two bad years.

“I’m the rider I am today because of those bad years too, there’s nothing to regret. I’m just proud of my family, myself and everything.”

Picture: GeeBee Images
Picture: GeeBee Images