Marcus Pereira de Freitas the Team HRC General Manager for the MXGP class has seen a very up and down start to the 2023 season. Having been to the highs of an MXGP championship with Tim Gajser in 2022, the Team HRC suffered the lowest of lows as the Slovenian, five-time World Champion suffered injury in a pre-season race and will miss the opening six or seven rounds of this year’s championship.
The team then saw Ruben Fernandez made his first appearance for the team at the opening round of the Argentina Grand Prix and take a very surprising victory.
Question: Obviously you had the start of the season with that stunning win by Ruben in Argentina. Can you explain how that felt?
Pereira de Freitas: Argentina was just an amazing event for us at Team HRC. Ruben went there and just rode superbly, and to win the second moto was a big achievement, but to then take the overall was just a massive boost of confidence to him and everyone in the team. What a start to Ruben’s time with Team HRC! He has worked so hard over the winter to be in this position so he deserves a lot of credit, and then to put it together here is amazing. He certainly didn’t make it easy after race one, but he came out and rode flawlessly in race two, taking the victory and the overall. It was just such an impressive performance, and a great way to start his year and a great moment for the whole team who all work so hard to make moments like this possible.
Question: Even on the Saturday in Argentina he looked very strong?
Pereira de Freitas: We are all very happy with Ruben’s performance. It is never easy to start on a new team, and especially with a big crowd supporting him, he could easily have been nervous, but he was calm and relaxed and just went out and rode really well. The fourth place not only gives him the seven points for the championship, but also fourth gate pick for the two races, so we are going to work hard to make sure he can go out there and repeat the result from today.
Question: Saturday in Riola Sardo was good, better than expected I would think after Rubens past races in sand?
Pereira de Freitas: Overall, it was a very good day for Ruben and the team. He showed his sand skills today and we are very happy with his riding in all three sessions. Each time he went out on the track he got better and better, from 11th in free practice to fifth in timed practice and then he was in the top five for the majority of the qualification race, only dropping to sixth when he tried to make a pass for second place a couple of laps from the end.
Question: Sunday though, it didn’t go well and it was really difficult for the team and Ruben?
Pereira de Freitas: Unfortunately, it was a tough day once again in Sardinia. Riola Sardo certainly hasn’t been kind to Team HRC but we won’t dwell on that and instead focus on getting things right in Switzerland at the next round. Ruben knows what he is capable of, and he showed some really good signs throughout the weekend, so the talent is there, he just made mistakes at the wrong time and on this track that is really costly.