MotoGP returns to the United States and the spectacular Circuit of the Americas as Husqvarna Motorcycles’ Romano Fenati races to 12th in shortened and twice interrupted Grand Prix
Hopes were high for the long trip to Austin, Texas and only the second ‘flyaway’ for 2021 MotoGP as the series returned to the fast technical blend of twenty corners that forms the Circuit of the Americas. The Sterilgarda Max Racing Team had been pushing for victory in the previous race – round fourteen of eighteen – at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and lead rider, Romano Fenati, has already triumphed twice at the 5.5km course.
Friday’s Free Practice was run in showery, wet and then damp conditions but qualification was thankfully dry as the Moto3 teams and riders battled a surprisingly bumpy and uneven asphalt. Fenati was able to end Q2 with the 11th fastest time and obtain a slot in the middle of the fourth row of the grid. Adrian Fernandez negotiated his first laps of COTA and was 22nd.
Efficiency in Austin meant conquering the quick, flowing opening section of the lap and also mastering the hairpin-esque slower corners that demanded hard braking and rapid acceleration. The Moto3 race was set to take place over 17 hard laps – and Fenati initially slid onto the fringe of the top ten while Fernandez made up a lot of positions to be close to his teammate – until Filip Salac’s crash caused the GP to be red-flagged and forced a quick restart and a 5 lap dash.
In the second outing Fernandez crashed on the first lap at Turn 18 but a multi-rider accident brought the red flags out again. Instead of taking to the grid for a third time Race Direction decided to base the results on the first outing, therefore placing Fenati 12th and Fernandez in 21st.
Fenati is still 4th in the Moto3 World Championship standings and staring at a 30 point margin to Sergio Garcia in 3rd.
MotoGP now rolls back to Europe for the last trio of events to take place at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli – the second outing this term – the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal (again the second GP in 2021) and the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain. Misano will run on October 23rd-24th.
Romano Fenati: “Not too happy. We didn’t find the right set-up but towards the end of the first race it was getting better and was feeling faster in the braking areas. We stopped and restarted and I lost a few metres from the group but in the end it didn’t matter. This race was unbelievable.”
Adrian Fernandez: “Difficult race today. I lost a lot of positions just before the red flag and that was the race that counted. I want to thank the team for all their work and the next GP in Misano will be better.”
Max Biaggi, Team Principal: “An unbelievable day and I’ve not seen something like this in Moto3. The decision to take it from race one, and it was not the best amount of points we were hoping for but we have to accept it. I think Misano now will be one of the most important for Romano and the team and his confidence. Adrian didn’t get any points today. We hope we can start on the right foot at the next GP.”
Results – 2021 Moto3 World Championship, Round 15
1. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 15:57.747, 2. Dennis Foggia (Honda) +0.385, 3. John McPhee (Honda) +0.499. 12. Romano Fenati (Husqvarna) +3.257, 21. Adrian Fernandez (Husqvarna) +14.107
World Championship standings
1. Pedro Acosta (KTM) 218pts; 2. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 188pts; 3. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 168pts; 4. Romano Fenati (Husqvarna) 138 pts; 24. Adrian Fernandez (Husqvarna) 20 pts.