1 year ago
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Ahead of the Sepang test and engines firing up for the first time in 2018, motogp.com spoke to Gino Borsoi, Sporting Director for the newly-renamed Angel Nieto Team. It's a new year, new name and new bike, but the team’s two riders remain the same: Alvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham. First up it’s time to talk 2017, and how Borsoi would analyse the year for the team.
“It was a really interesting year,” Borsoi begins, “especially in the first part of the Championship, when we could fight for good positions, bearing in mind how competitive the races are nowadays. It was a great first part of the season, especially for Alvaro, whereas towards the end of the year we had some issues and we couldn’t get the best from the bike.
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“With Karel, it was the opposite. He started off quietly, except for his front row start in Argentina, but the end of the season was really good – despite that sometimes not being reflected in the results. He got close to the best times, especially in qualifying.”
Adding a little more on Abraham, Borsoi says the Czech rider wasn’t mentally and physically ready to fight at the front at the start of the season – and that the bike showed it was possible. “The bike went pretty well and it gave him the chance to show, like in Argentina, that it could fight for interesting positions. At the end of the year, when Karel was dialed in, we had some bad luck with the bike. Those were problems that stopped us seeing the best of a Karel who was really strong and prepared for the latter half of the season.”
Borsoi says, however, that the season overall was a very positive one for the team – and some top finishes, top qualifying positions and good points reflect that. Now it’s almost time to do it all again, so looking forward, how does the Sporting Director feel ahead of 2018?
“We’re hopeful…we’re going to inherit Dovi’s bike!” he laughs. Explaining further, the Italian points out the positives the Independent outfit have to look forward to. “We already have a bike setup ideally for each circuit because it comes from having competed for a year – which is a big difference to what the factory teams have to do when they have a new project and a new bike. Factory teams started off with more problems and then from the fourth race on they found the right track and that made it more difficult for us. It’s obvious we have an advantage, because it’s a bike that went so well last year and fought for the Championship.”
That it did, and it will be Alvaro Bautista’s bike for 2018. So what are the team expecting from the former 125 World Champion?
“Putting numbers to it isn’t easy. But the objective for an Independent Team is getting into the top five, which is a great result. And why not getting on the podium, as other teams have done? That’s not something we’re ruling out. We have good riders and a good bike. I think Malaysia and Thailand will prove the points of reference as to where we are in respect of the competition.”
Malaysia is coming soon, with action beginning on Sunday, before Thailand hosts the second test and we begin to see how the pack has shuffled in 2018.
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