The reigning Moto2 world champion, Fernandez is the only rookie on the 2023 MotoGP grid, having been signed by Tech3 to join its KTM-backed, GASGAS-branded squad.
Fernandez endured a tough first four rounds of the championship, scoring nothing in any of the sprints and achieving a best grand prix result of 10th in America.
At the French GP, Fernandez qualified inside the top 12 for the first time and ended the grand prix in fourth to cap off his best weekend in MotoGP so far.
It proved timely, as in the earlier Moto2 race, 2021 Moto3 world champion Acosta crashed out.
Acosta is set to make the step up to MotoGP in 2024 with KTM, though at present the only space for him is at Tech3 in place of Fernandez, who only has a one-year deal, while the rest of the KTM stable is contracted through to the end of next season.
Asked by Motorsport.com at Le Mans if his season-best fourth felt like it came at the right time considering Acosta’s crash, Fernandez replied: “You have to ask another person, not me.
Augusto Fernandez, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“I’m happy because it’s a fourth in MotoGP, fifth race of the season.
“I’m focused on my job and I want more. I don’t want to be fourth. I’m here to win, so I’m focused on my own job. That’s it.”
Fernandez believes Le Mans will be a turning point for his season as it was the first round in which he “started to feel the bike, to know how I can be fast” as he trusts in himself better.
“I’m starting to have feelings with this bike, because until now my feeling was so so,” he explained.
“I didn’t have my own feelings and my own thoughts about anything. So, this weekend was the first one where I started to feel the bike, to know how I can be fast.
“[On Saturday at Le Mans] I was afraid to follow my feelings and today [Sunday] I said ok, after two crashes I’ll go with the soft [front tyre], I feel good with it and it paid off.
“So, this for the future is good for me to follow my instincts.”