The premiere of Gas Gas, a classic brand of trial rocks or the land of enduro, motocross and quads, in the highest category of the world speed championship has been more convulsive than expected. Although not as much, perhaps, as its particular history in the last eight years. In 2015, after being forced into bankruptcy due to its very delicate economic situation, it was acquired by the Vitorian Torrot, with the participation of the Black Toro Capital fund, which would eventually end up de facto controlling the company. Two years later, just when the Catalan political climate reached its most convulsive moment, it moved its headquarters from the Girona town of Salt to Zaragoza. In 2019, meanwhile, 60% of the firm would be acquired by the Dutch KTM, with the firm intention of refloating it. A firm intention that, now, in this 2023, has ended up being reflected with the premiere of its colors in MotoGP after showing last year the leg in Moto2 and doing the same in 2021 in Moto3.
The most purists can argue, rightly, that this kind of re-release, apparently in style, is little more than a makeup operation. After all, this season's Gas Gas are simply the same KTM RC16 of the official team, but with the logos of the Catalan parent brand and its red color scheme. Practically, the spiritual relay of what until last year was the Tech 3 team. Although, yes, with new sap on their saddles. Very new, of course, in one case and what would be in practice almost a return home in the other.
The Spaniard Augusto Fernández, on paper the number two of the team, is a rookie in a category to which, yes, he has arrived reinforced by his status as current Moto2 world champion. Pol Espargaro, meanwhile, returns de facto to KTM, albeit through a sort of subsidiary, to contribute his experience to a team that will remain in the hands of Herve Poncharal, while Jorge Martínez Aspar continues to lead the Moto2 and Moto3 teams.
What was supposed to be the big start in MotoGP, last week's Portuguese Grand Prix, didn't go as well as they would have liked at Gas Gas. In free practice, Pol Espargaró had a spectacular accident that will force him to spend a lot of time away from the circuits. His replacement, since the Grand Prix of the Americas, which will be held between April 14 and 16, will be a Jonas Folger who has his full approval. "Pol has sent us an incredibly dedicated message, with a lot of heart and saying that he will do everything possible to be here as soon as possible and that he is also very happy that Jonas Folger will replace him, because he likes it and believes it is the best option," said the manager of the Gas Gas team.
Augusto Fernández, meanwhile, after being left without scoring in the sprint race in Portimao and finishing last Sunday's Grand Prix as thirteenth classified, which allowed him to add his first three points in this championship, he also had little luck in practice this Saturday and will leave in the penultimate position of the grid in Argentina, only ahead of Joan Mir.
In a session marked by track conditions, who inscribed his name in the epic pages of the speed championship was another Marquez. If in the training of Portimao it was Marc who signed an apparent return to his best version with a pole with which he pulverized the circuit record, no matter how much everything was overshadowed by the error that led him to collide with Miguel Oliveira and now involved in the controversy of when he must serve the corresponding sanction, of whether or not it will serve to do it in absentia, in this case it was Alex who took the first place on the grid.
The first pole of the youngest of the Marquez in MotoGP came wrapped in a story almost worthy of telefilm. After finishing Q1 with a fall and his Ducati enveloped by flames, the Cervera ended up snatching the best mark from Italian Marco Bezzecchi only by a tenth of a second, while Pecco Bagnaia, the current champion and who arrived in Argentina after taking the victory in both the sprint and the Portuguese Grand Prix, will start from third place on the grid more than willing, surely, to repeat the performance signed a week ago in Portimao.
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- Marc Marquez