Barberá expecting to lead CRTs at Losail

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Héctor Barberá expects ultra-strong competition as the 2013 MotoGP™ season kicks off this weekend, but admits that he will be deeply frustrated to come away from Losail without sealing the top spot for CRT runners.

Over the course of pre-season testing, Barberá and Avintia Blusens have appeared to be the closest challengers to the title-defending Power Electronics Aspar bikes of reigning class champion Aleix Espargaró and Randy de Puniet.

“We’re going to a track I like and which has always been good to me,” says Barbará, who in 2013 switches to Avintia from Pramac Racing. “Its layout, with the fast corners, suits my riding style and the truth is that I just feel comfortable on it. The fact the race is run at night gives it a special attraction but we’re mostly interested in seeing the true potential of each team.

“The pre-season has gone well and our expectations are high; the team has done a great job and I feel physically strong as well. We’re not here to deceive, though: the goal is to be the best CRT and if I fail to do that I won’t be happy. The level of our rivals is high, but we can match it.”

Teammate Hiroshi Aoyama is also upbeat, although he continues to carry a hand injury picked up in a training accident during the off-season; as it is the right hand that was hurt, this continues to affect both throttle and braking inputs.

“We’ve worked hard over the off-season and I think we’ve prepared well for the first race in Qatar, although of course until we ride we don’t know anything for sure,” the Japanese rider begins.

“I love riding at night so I always feel very comfortable at this first race. I’m feeling encouraged and ready for the start of the season and my (full-time) return to the World Championship. The hand is still not perfect but I don’t think it will limit me too much. We’ll see.”

Barberá holds a strong record at Losail, having finished on the podium three times in the 250 class which has now been replaced by Moto2™; in 2009, he was the victor. Aoyama’s sole rostrum at the track was also in 250s, on the venue’s debut in 2004.

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