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After a crash out of contention in Qatar, Pull&Bear Aspar rider Alvaro Bautista made good on his pace shown throughout preseason testing in the #ArgentinaGP – coming home an impressive P4. The former 125 World Champion spoke to motogp.com about his ambitions for the season, riding different machinery, and the evolution of the premier class as he races in his eighth season in MotoGP™.
Bautista and Pull&Bear Aspar delighted with #ArgentinaGP
Alvaro Bautista: "For me, these are the positions where I should be, where I've been in the past and where we have to work to continue in the future. We knew we were doing a good job and that we were pretty competitive in terms of the rhythm for Sunday. It was a pity the qualifying was in mixed conditions. We were penalised for qualifying so far back. Even so, we were confident of making up positions. If we had qualified better, or we hadn’t taken so long to get in the lead of the chasing group, I think it was feasible to fight for the podium given the pace we had, especially the last third of the race.”
The podium is something the Spaniard has premier class experience of, now in his eight season and having ridden Suzukis, Aprilias, Hondas and now, a Ducati. So which is his favourite? The Desmosedici:
AB19: “Every bike is different, they all have pros and cons, but the bike that adapts better to my riding style is the Ducati. Being a factory rider like with Suzuki and Aprilia helps you to evolve a bike to fit you, but there are times that you are not very clear which way to follow. With satellites like Honda and Ducati, the bike base is better, but also if there’s something on the bike that you don’t like, you can’t change it - the bike is made to the liking of the factory riders.”
The GP16 Ducati seems to suit the Spaniard, and he knows his strengths:
AB19: "I'm a rider who needs to have a lot of feeling with the bike, and that's when I get the maximum potential. I may not be a driver for a qualifying super-lap, especially if the bike is not perfect, but I work a lot in terms of the race – and that’s where the points are given out."
That’s certainly true, as many on the grid have used to their advantage. And that grid, the Aspar rider knows, only gets more and more competitive – making any advantage incredibly valuable.
AB19: "Right now there is more level and equality between the bikes and the riders. The demands have been changing the way to ride and we have seen how everyone has begun to pull their legs in braking, the lean angle is lower, elbows skimming the ground... before there was just one or two who did that. Now, if you don’t, you aren’t doing the maximum. Everything is so even that any small detail can give you great results. Fewer failures are allowed. Luckily we have also gained a lot in safety, both in terms of circuits and in the protection offered by helmets, leathers and gloves.”
MotoGP™ is more competitive than ever as the field condenses, and it can be thousandths of a second deciding entry to Q2, grid positions and even race wins – so an impressive preseason and a P4 in Argentina seem to lay very promising foundations for man and team as the paddock now heads for Austin, TX - ready for round three.
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