Qué! has published a short interview with Álvaro ahead of the Aragon Grand Prix this weekend where he talks a bit more about his offers for 2012 and the improvements this season.
The Grand Prix at Aragon is coming up next and your most recent results have raised expectations and hope among the Spanish fans. What are your realistic aspirations for Aragon?
Well, they’re pretty much like always, do my best and get as high up as possible without setting a certain result in mind. My goal is to be fighting with the second group, since the first three now seem unattainable to be fighting for the fourth or fifth place would be very good.
In August you wanted to improve in qualifying and it was said and done. How do you train for something so specific?
It’s complicated, because you really only have one hour of qualifying throughout the weekend. What we have tried was to divide the work; in the free practice sessions trying to find a rhythm and properly prepare the bike and in the qualifying trying to take no prisoners, go to the limit, hanging on to someone to see where you can gain a few thousandths.
How is it for you to be the only Suzuki rider? Do you have more advantages or disadvantages?
Phew, that depends. If I had a very competitive teammate it would be an advantage, because we could share the setup data and between us push to be faster. However, if my partner was slower or more or less at my level it could be a disadvantage, because maybe we would have different opinions, would opt for different paths, then the factory does not know which way to develop the bike… There is no concrete answer, it could be better to have a teammate, but also worse.
Do you use the telemetry data from last year or do you start almost from zero?
We use them, but only a little; the 2010 bike has not much in common with the one now, it is very different with the chassis and weight distribution, so we only use the data to get a rough idea. You have to bear in mind that many times on Friday after just two or three laps we’re already doing the laptimes from last season, so we get more information on location.
The question is obligatory: What about your future?
Well, you know that I have some offers on the table, but I want to stay focused. I hope to make a decision as soon as possible.
And that “as soon as possible” is when?
Well, now I want to be focused on Aragon… the next race is at Motegi … we’ll see if I made a decision before going to Japan.
If you change your team in the end… Does it give you chills to look at the fiasco of Rossi’s departure to Ducati?
Many of us knew that it was going to be very complicated for Valentino. For me it’s the best rider in history, but the Ducati is a motorcycle on which all riders have had problems, except for Stoner. Obviously he has not forgotten how to ride a bike, but it is very difficult to be competitive right away after a change. What it does do for me as an example is to realize how well we’re working at Suzuki, taking steps forward on a bike that has been many years without winning races. Seeing that it’s difficult for Valentino and that things are moving forward for us gives me motivation.
If you had to bet on a winner… Would it be Stoner?
Yes, if I had to risk my money it would be in favor of Stoner, but Lorenzo has no intention of throwing in the towel and he’ll be there to fight until the end.
Finally, what is your opinion about Motegi?
I’m a little… it’s not fear, but there is “something”; you hear a lot of people giving all kinds of opinions, some say it can be very bad, others say that nothing’s going to happen… but okay, there are some reports and we have to trust them.