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Alex Barros rues bad start

Alex Barros rues bad start

Alex Barros rues bad start

Alex Barros cited a bad start, compounded by the new rules stipulating three riders per row in the MotoGP class, for a disappointing fourth place in the opening round of the season at Welkom last Sunday. The Brazilian, touted by many as a serious title contender after inheriting the Repsol Honda RC211V vacated by reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi, qualified eighth fastest – a position which would normally have placed him on the second row. However, the new rules bumped him back to row three, from where he struggled to stay in touch with the lead pack.

"The new rule for qualifying, three riders per row, makes it really important to qualify – I was on the third row and that makes it really difficult because everybody is so competitive," explained Barros.

"I didn't start very well – I dropped from eighth to ninth and needed to start overtaking. This track is really difficult for overtaking. One time I tried to overtake Loris and almost went straight, so I needed to come back and say ‘Alex, take it easy, don't make any mistakes and go step by step.'

"So, I started to recover again, started to overtake the other riders and finally arrived in a front position maybe at half race distance. From that point I started to push to try create a gap from Nicky and that made it an easier race for me.

"My lap times were good – around 33.8, 33.9 by the end so if I had that rhythm from the start… I don't think I would have been able to go with Valentino and Max but as Sete dropped back near the end I might have been able to get him. With the way the race went, I can be happy with fourth position from the first race.

"I'm not fit yet 100% so I believe I can be better. I'm not riding 100% like I was before but I'm coming and at Jerez there should be a little bit more towards making me competitive in the future."

MotoGP, 2004, Alex Barros

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