The information campaign dedicated to the smooth announcement of the new composition of the Aprilia teams, planned by Dorna and interested parties, has begun to work: Today, on Tuesday, the official presentation of the RNF is expected, and Raul Fernandez was finally allowed to say on camera everything he wanted to tell – not through the manager, but in person. He told me about the breakup with KTM.
A week earlier, it became known that the deal between Raul, his manager, and KTM Factory Racing finally took place: in order to get a chance to stay in MotoGP by moving to RNF Aprilia, Fernandez had to pay a ransom. He personally or Aprilia, but the KTM house was not interested in who exactly would pay for this misunderstanding, in which they had invested for 5 years in a row. The result is that Fernandes agreed to give up the second half of the fee for 2022 (about 300 thousand euros) but to get “freedom” and not be banned at the IRTA level at the request of KTM. As a result, today we have to find out officially with whom and on what grounds Fernandez’s career in MotoGP will continue.
It is clear that Raul is disappointed. His disappointment is no less than that of Pete Bayer and Stefan Pire, the bosses of KTM. But Fernandez admitted that he really didn’t have enough time to roll into the MotoGP prototype:
“I expected a much better result, but in the end, everything went wrong, and it turned out to be much more difficult. There are a lot of nuances – you need to retrain to work with electronics, and tires. You have two motorcycles in one training session, and you need to have time to prepare both. Yes, there are a lot of people around who help, but it’s much more difficult than in Moto2,” Fernandez said in an official interview for motogp.com.
“First, it is difficult to curb all this power that the 1000 cc engine gives on the MotoGP prototype. A big load falls on electronics. This turned out to be the most difficult. And we knew that the motorcycle was working perfectly because Miguel and Brad brought excellent results on exactly the same motorcycles. But I am a beginner, I would still have a lot to learn, there is a huge margin for acceleration. However, I haven’t even managed to prove to myself that I’ve done it yet.”
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Early successes were blurred by an injury in Porto, from which Fernandez was able to fully recover only by Mugello. The consequences of the short-term treatment led to a new accident, which crossed out all the achievements of the first three months of the rookie’s “internship” at KTM: “The first three races were relatively good. But starting from Portugal, and up to now, it’s a complete nightmare. We counted on progress, but we didn’t make a step forward. We lost two races and missed the tests in Jerez. I returned to Le Mans, but it turned out that it was premature – my arm did not recover. In fact, we lost another whole weekend because I lost control and crashed at Le Mans. And we went back to the very beginning, from where we started work in March, to go the same way, but taking into account all the mistakes made earlier.”
For a professional athlete, there is nothing harder than feeling insecure and feeling slight inferiority: what is the problem – in me or …? This is a headache and a stopper of any progress. Unfortunately for Raul, his manager, Paco Sanchez, specifically brought down relations with KTM with a number of overly frank and even aggressive statements to the employer, so there was no turning back – to maintain relations with KTM Factory Racing and Tech3.
“In June, I already had few options for the future. Although there were some options – to stay in MotoGP or return to Moto2, definitely not with KTM … I was even offered the option of switching to a Superbike. But I was thinking about how to improve my performance in MotoGP, how to accelerate and prove to myself that I’m not here by accident.”