Porto reflects on the 2005 season so far
Dutch TT winner Sebastian Porto enjoys a well deserved break in his native Argentina before returning to Europe for the betandwin.com British Grand Prix which will take place next week at Donington Park. As the mid-season mark gets closer, the Aprilia Aspar rider looks back on the first part of his 2005 campaign.
After this spectacular first victory of the season, how do you see the second half of the championship?
Now I can say that I see it well, because there are many races still ahead. Although what I really care about is that we've been competitive again, and that gives us the chance to face the coming races in a different way. What we have to do is to work hard to let the bike work as it did in Assen. If we manage to do that, we'll be able to be in the front in the remaining Grand Prix. The gap to the lead in the overall standings is big, but I'm going to focus race after race to score as many points as possible.
You did a very intelligent race in Holland, what was your approach?
There was no special plan. What I wanted to do was a good start, because in a circuit like Assen it is important to get a place in the front, right after the first corners. It is a very long and fast circuit and there aren't many places to overtake. It cost me a bit to get the pace in the first lap because I had new tyres and they didn't have the right temperature. I didn't want to push from the beginning and let Lorenzo take the lead. After the first few laps I felt much more comfortable on the bike and I had several chances to pass him but I decided to stay behind and study the areas where I could pass him. I also knew that Pedrosa was coming and when he passed me, I knew that I had to pass him back in order not to loose the chance to win the race. I passed them both in the chicane, it was a risky manoeuvre but it went well. And the bike let me do the manoeuvre as well. The last lap was very fast and Pedrosa was faster than me in T2. I knew that if I managed to close the gaps in that section, Dani wouldn't be able to pass me again. The truth is that I was delighted to win again in this circuit and this victory is of big value for me, especially after all the problems we've been having. It's been a nice and satisfying victory.
Do you feel more comfortable on the bike after the problems in the first races?
Yes because we've recovered the bike we had in the preseason. And now what I want and hope is to avoid ups and down. We have to be regular and constant for the rest of the season. We have several very favourable circuits for the Aprilia ahead, and also some less favourable, but the team and I are ready for it and we'll try to get the best out of ourselves to be in the front.
What else can Porto achieve in the coming races? Are the next circuits favourable for you and your bike?
The Aprilia adapts better to fast tracks than to slow ones due to its kind of engine and chassis, but I think that right now there is a big similarity between Aprilia and Honda. The circuits we're going to visit now, Donington and Germany, are slow, but if we manage to be regular we can be in the top.
Which of the nine remaining circuits do you prefer and why?
Brno is with no doubt the best circuit for the Aprilia and in fact, we won there last year. I also like Qatar, Malaysia and Australia; I actually like all of them in general terms, although the less favourable for the Aprilia are Germany, England, Japan and Valencia. But as I already said, what really counts is to have a good setting for the bike to let the results come.
On what evolution level is your bike? Which are the points you think that need further evolution?
Right now the bike is competitive again, but it always needs a little further evolution. All our problems came after Jerez, when we started to test some new elements that we did not have the chance to test on the track. This was the base of our negative results, but now, what really counts is that we have gone back and the bike is competitive again like it was during the preseason and in Jerez, although we can always try to get a better performance from the engine. The most important is to work hard.
How do you see your main rivals, Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso?
The 250cc class is being highly contended and very difficult. There are 5 very fast riders who can win races. Fortunately we are back in the top and in Assen we were able to be better than them. Something that surprised me a lot was the easiness with which these 125cc riders adapted to the change of class. Although what is clear is that if a rider is fast, he is fast on any bike, even if some take a bit longer to adapt than others. Apart from Dani, I think that the rest may lack a bit of experience, but both Lorenzo and Stoner and Dovizioso are with no doubt our most direct rivals.
You have already seven races behind and there are nine left to go. How do you feel when we've almost reached halfway the championship?
I'd like to be in a better position in the overall standings. What happened to us in the last races was not in our plans because we prepared the preseason highly optimistic and I was always thinking positive. Now what really matters to me is that we've found solutions that allow us to be where we belong, so I feel very optimistic for the coming races. The situation as regards the championship is not ideal, but such are things and what you have to do is always look ahead. There are nine races left and we can recover a lot if everything works out like in Assen.
Do you have any special plan for the next summer holidays?
No, holidays for me are basically being at home, in Argentina, with my family. Relaxing and training hard to be able to stand well the second half of the season where there'll be races on very hot places which need you to be in a really good shape. And recovering from the little hits I've had.