until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Why a MotoGP returnee threw up in his helmet during Italian GP

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
5 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

RNF Aprilia rider Raul Fernandez threw up in his helmet during the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, with several potential culprits behind his situation.

Lap charts suggest Fernandez vomited around lap 21, as – though already fading before that point – he lost 12 seconds over the final three laps of the 23-lap grand prix.

The sophomore Spaniard, who has joined RNF this year after a split with Tech3 and KTM, had pulled out of the previous round at Le Mans after having a more-complex-than-expected surgery to relieve severe compartment surgery in his right arm.

“Firstly, I am really happy with how was my arm. I told you the last two days that the best thing I did was [to have] surgery,” Fernandez said after the race.

“But today, after yesterday’s crash, I felt really bad. I [had] felt really good and day by day on the bike I felt super good, we improved super good. In the beginning I was behind [fellow Aprilia riders] Maverick [Vinales] and [Miguel] Oliveira, and we were catching Aleix [Espargaro].

“And I don’t know why, in the middle of the race, I started to feel very bad, very bad, very bad. I tried to push more to stay there and in one moment of the race I felt bad, I don’t know [if] for the crash or for the pill I ate to not have a lot of pain… and I vomited on the bike.

“And I tried to end the race, but I was super bad, I went wide, in general my body was not good, I was super tired.”



Fernandez had actually had two crashes on Saturday. In the pre-qualifying practice, he was clearly winded by a San Donato fall that sent him bouncing violently through the gravel. The 22-year-old spent several moments on his knees and elbows afterwards, though ultimately walked away by himself.

The other crash was more severe, still. Fernandez fell off at Biondetti, was again sent rolling violently through the gravel – his visor opening in the process – and smacked against the tyre barrier with the right side of his head.

He appeared to have shrugged off that crash faster, but admitted afterwards he was left in all sorts of pain and “a little bit in the s**t”.

Fernandez already has a history of head injuries in MotoGP from just his rookie seasons. He presumably will have passed MotoGP’s concussion protocol after his pair of accidents, but vomiting during the race and a headache in the aftermath are concerning symptoms.

However, there was also a compounding explanation.

While Fernandez does appear recovered from his complex surgery now, it would’ve compromised his training regimen. But perhaps more pertinent was the fact he’d begun the Mugello MotoGP week with a fever and struggling to eat, which already left him physically “destroyed” after Friday’s action.

“I think we’re working really well but now the problem is now MotoGP is super competitive and if you are not at 100 percent or you don’t train at 100 percent, you will be on the s**t.


“And I think the principal reason, the principal problem I had – can see [it as] an excuse – but if you see Monday, Tuesday, I was super bad at home. I didn’t eat, I came here a bit bad, later I had two big crashes, I started to eat pills [for the pain].

“And today I felt bad with my body, now I feel super tired, I have a headache…

“Something that we cannot control 100 percent because you can control what you do on the bike but you can’t control your physical condition, you can take some gripe [flu] or something like this.”

“And in any case I am happy – I want to say sorry to my team but we will have some opportunities and I will tell you now, our target is to go to Silverstone at 100 percent. We will have the summer break to prepare very well. I will have time to prepare. I will do Sachsenring, I think we will do a really good job because the last year was positive for us, I think will be a good track for us, but the important thing is to arrive to Silverstone at 100 percent.”



Fernandez had shown a glimpse of improved pace on Friday, albeit was narrowly denied a direct Q2 spot before his weekend then completely fell apart on Saturday.

Even given the extenuating circumstances, his single-lap pace specifically has to remain a concern, given he is yet to make Q2 during his MotoGP career and yet appears to be too on-the-edge when chasing a peak laptime.

At the same time, he is adamant he has not had a representative outing on the Aprilia RS-GP given his early-season arm troubles (and the fact he felt much better with it at Mugello before the rest of the circumstances wrecked his weekend).

“I want to say sorry to my team but we will have some opportunities and I will tell you now, our target is to go to Silverstone at 100 percent,” Fernandez said, referencing the first race after the summer break.

“I will prepare like an animal to arrive there, and not have any problems, to try to not have this f***ing stupid thing that I couldn’t train like normal.

“For that, it’s true that we will have two races more [before the summer break – at the Sachsenring and Assen], but we had a meeting with the team and we said ‘OK, this is not the pre-season but we will take it like a pre-season to recover our speed in the body, to see how my body is evolving and how I feel physically, and we will arrive to the summer break, I will not do a summer break, I will go to train and prepare very well the second part of the year’.

As for next weekend’s German Grand Prix specifically, Fernandez said: “I will have some days to recover, and the important thing during these days is to drink and eat very well. And sure, I will try to do my best, but we know now my physical condition is not like I want it. It’s a little bit down for some reason.”

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