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Hernandez: "We still have to take steps forward"

Hernandez: 'We still have to take steps forward'

Although staying on Ducati machinery, Yonny Hernandez moves across to the Aspar MotoGP Team for 2016 and is ready to fight.

Yonny Hernández is the Aspar MotoGP Team's exciting new signing for the new MotoGP™ season. The Colombian rider remains on a Ducati but the switch to the Spanish team, as well as significant changes to the standard tyre supplier and new standard electronics, means there is plenty for him to get used to. Hernandez has been working hard alongside the Aspar Team throughout pre-season testing and he has shown his quality as a rider, making constant progress in every session. In the final test at Losail he moved to within striking distance of the top ten, which he has set as a target for the season ahead. After all the hard work and preparation throughout preseason, the man from Medellín is ready to let his riding do the talking.

Preseason is over. How do you reflect on the last nine days?
“The first two sessions in Malaysia and Australia were tough for us. The bike was new, the team also, and we all had to get used to things. Luckily I was able to do that quickly and we managed to solve some electronic problems that we were having. In Qatar we started to find the way forward and on the final night we found a set-up that allowed me to ride how I like. The team was also able to gather a lot of data and we set a great pace that allowed us to be fighting in the top ten. We have a lot of positive energy now and I am determined to go to Losail and do well. There will be a lot of expectation surrounding the first race, there are a lot of riders who have set fast laps in preseason but with the Michelin tyres there is still an unknown factor.“

Are you ready for the first GP of the season?
“Yes. I trained hard for preseason as well as for the season ahead. I feel ready and I am looking forward to the start of the championship.”

What result would make you happy on Sunday night after the race in Losail?
“Our objective this season is to be fighting consistently to finish in the top ten or twelve. It would be great to finish the first race in the top ten. Whatever happens we will be trying our best to make that happen.“

What do you think are the strong points of the Ducati? 
“We have a really competitive engine this season. We saw in Qatar that the engine is strong and the Michelin tyres are adapting well to the Ducati, as we could see from the pace of Barberá. Also Baz and ourselves on the last night, we set a good lap time. I think we would have improved even more if we had more tyres to continue testing. Given how well we have adapted so far I think we have to make the most of the early part of the season, while some of our rivals are still finding their way.“

In what ways do you think the Ducati can improve?
“We still have to take steps forward with the electronics. In the last test at Losail we found the way forward, having lost a little time previously. Apart from the electronics, I think we can still adapt a lot more to the Ducati. Even though it is the same bike I rode last year I have had to adapt my style to the Michelin tyres and the set-up has changed a lot from what I am used to with the new electronics.“

After what you have seen in preseason, who do you see as the favourites for the title?
“Lorenzo looks very strong and so does Viñales. I have also been surprised by the performance of the Avintia team Ducatis. Rossi has been working in his own way - discreetly - and then just when it looks like he's not there he appears at the top by the end. I am sure that Lorenzo and Rossi will be fighting for the title again in 2016.“

Looking ahead to the 2016 season, what is your main objective?
“It is early to set objectives but I think that aiming to be in the top ten or twelve by the end of the season is a good challenge for us. I am going to fight hard to make sure that's the case.”

There have been some changes to the rules this season and there are several factors that seem to have levelled the playing field for the riders in terms of the fuel, software and tyres. What do you make of the changes?
“It is exciting to see so much parity. In the majority of tests we have seen practically the top fifteen separated by a second or just over. It reminds me very much of when I rode in Moto2, when just a few tenths could decide a bunch of positions. On the last day at Losail we finished in eleventh but a couple of tenths would have moved us up to sixth. It is nice to see MotoGP so close and competitive. I think we have a really nice season ahead of us. The lap times are out there, now we will see everybody's true pace in the first race. Tyres could play a big role, at least until everybody adapts.”

MotoGP, 2016, Yonny Hernandez, Pull & Bear Aspar Team

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