Adrian Fernandez opens up on his side of the events which led to him replacing Alonso Lopez in Moto3.
Drama and racing, something which seems to go hand in hand and has done for decades now thinking back to Schwantz and Rainey all the way through to Rossi and Biaggi and as recent as Jorge Lorenzo’s spat on social media. The competitive atmosphere in racing never changes and riders careers are often shaped and changed by decisions made by teams which can cause incredible fall outs between riders.
Alonso Lopez and Adrian Fernandez were no exception to this rule as it transpired earlier this year as Alonso Lopez was replaced by Adrian Fernandez in the Max Racing Team. Fernandez is the younger brother of Moto2 rider Raul Fernandez and is equally as talented as his brother, in 2020 Adrian raced a multitude of different motorcycles including a Husqvarna Moto3 bike, a Honda Moto3 bike and even a Beon Moto3 bike in the Italian Moto3 championship, taking home podium finishes.
At just 16 years old Fernandez has a lot of space to grow and develop as a rider and his held in high regard at Husqvarna, so when the decision was made to promote him to the Moto3 World Championship with the brand it was not unexpected. He was able to take his first chance at proving his talent to the masses at the Portimao round of the 2020 Moto3 World Championship when he replaced the injured Filip Salac and would ride a Honda Moto3 bike for the first time.
It did not take him long to adjust to the changes and he qualified in P20 and finished the race in P18, this was without a prior test and without any previous knowledge of the machine, he proved he was able to fight in the world level and even beat his 2021 teammate Romano Fenati in the race and Moto3 race winner Andrea Migno with Alonso Lopez suffering a DNF.
The issue was that this move to the world championship had to be at the expense of a rider, the team had already signed Alonso Lopez and Romano Fenati for the 2021 season and both riders looked promising with Fenati taking a race win at Misano in 2020 and Lopez making steady gains after moving from Honda to the Husqvarna. Eventually after careful consideration it was decided that 19-year old Lopez was to lose his seat with Fernandez taking his place.
As you can expect, Lopez wasn’t too pleased about the situation and put some information about the change on social media with many rumours spreading about a fee being exchanged for the ride and some conspiracies which lack evidence at this current time.
Speaking to Spanish news source Motorsports Spain “Pitito” [Adrian] was able to explain his side of the story answering the below questions.
When did the news first reach you that you were going to be a rider in the World Championship?
I raced the last race of the World Championship with the Snipers Team [Portimao 2020]. The truth is that it is a team of 10 and well, I finished the race and I had a great weekend despite the riders in the world championship all being very fast. There is a lot of difference between FIM CEV Repsol and the Moto3 World Championship the bike is also very different too. So, of course I took part in the race and I started 20th and what people don’t understand is that I was ahead of the two Husqvarna riders, nobody thinks about that.
Honestly after this race the [Max Racing] team asked me if I wanted to race their bike and of course I accepted, it’s my dream. From there, people began to post shit about me signing to the team but what they have said has not been proven.
So, you get the offer from the Max Biaggi team after the race in Portimao, right?
Yes, I finished the race and my managers spoke with the Max Biaggi team and told me that I had the ride a few days before it was announced that I would ride for the team. Then, what happened is that Alonso said things that he might regret later and he invented half of what he said, if not almost everything.
Did all the controversy and criticism that arose after this news affect you in any way?
The truth is that no, it did not affect me at all because I see it as something normal, if you race for 3 years in the World Championship and a 16-year-old boy comes like I did and kicks you out then you may start to say that he comes paying for his ride and yes it costs a lot to get here, but it’s not as easy as me paying for a ride, I don’t know how to explain to people that what Alonso is saying is a lie. I beat him in the last race so I don’t feel offended.
People are saying that I got the seat just because I paid, but if it was like that, I would not fight like I did in Portimao every race. I understand that I was not fighting for the leading group because the World Championship is very difficult, but fighting in those positions that I was in is already very difficult.
The truth is that rumours and fake news about me came to light about why I got this ride but I did nothing wrong, you know? The team offered me my dream and I gladly accepted.
Following from this Alonso Lopez has been confirmed to ride for Team Ciatti in the CEV Repsol Moto2 Championship on a Speed Up, the team were the 2020 champions with Yari Montella.