From the plethora of interviews that Álvaro did just after his first run with the Honda RC212V at the end of last season, we bring you another one [it should also be the last one], courtesy of BikeRacing.it. Yes, it’s slightly dusty by now [conducted before Suzuki's official withdrawal], but also slightly different in range of questions and regarding his answers. Below you can find the complete translation.
After he spent two seasons in the official Suzuki MotoGP team, Alvaro Bautista joined Honda Gresini for 2012. The Spaniard will be riding the RC213V, to finally join (after the positive signals during the final part of last season) the upper parts of the world rankings. BIKEracing.it met up with him during the International Bicycle and Motorcycle Fair in Milan (EICMA) at the REV’IT! stand, where he gave his first impressions in this interview.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday you have reached an agreement with the Gresini Team: What led you to this agreement and why have you decided to leave Suzuki?
“Mainly because the project that Suzuki presented to me was to stay with the 800cc, so I tried to get a 1000cc for next year and there was the opportunity of joining this team. Because of this we chose to go with Fausto. Suzuki still didn’t know when it would enter the 1000cc, but I wanted to have the same bike as the others to fight with them.”
You tried the Honda for the first time, even if only the 800cc. What did you think of the bike?
“It’s very different to ride, but I quickly felt very good and very comfortable. I have not ridden a lot, I didn’t want to change the bike but instead simply ride a bit, work a little with the team.”
What guarantees on the technical level did you get when you signed with them?
“Theoretically the four Hondas will start next year at the same level and it’s like the four bikes are official. Then, once the developments come, they first go to the Repsol team. But the results may change the situation inside Honda.”
What was your first impression of the team and your new chief mechanic Antonio Jimenez?
“I knew Antonio from before. One of the reasons for me to join the team was that he is there. He is good, very experienced and we quickly got along very well. The team is almost like a family, very well put together. What is missing now is to start working together.”
You decided to leave Suzuki over the uncertainty of their sporting programme, but did you think that despite the recent good performance there was not much room for improvement?
“With the 800cc we did a good job, at the end of the season we got close to the top of the standings, despite the bike still being far from Honda. We were working well, but about halfway through the season they stopped the development. I don’t know what they would do a year after they stopped developing. So we worked with what we had and got the most out of it.”
You’ve never tried the 1000cc. Do you think you’ll like it and that it is the right solution for the future?
“Obviously I don’t know why they changed from 1000cc to 800cc, then go back to 1000cc! I talked to other riders and they told me that it is nicer to ride because it has more power, especially from the bottom, so out of the corners you don’t need a lot of revs to have power. The bike definitely has more top speed on the straights, but I don’t think the bikes should have too much power on a straight line, because the spectacle is in the cornering and overtaking. The future is the 1000cc, even though in the future they want to do something like Moto2-Moto3.”
Speaking of which, what do you think of the CRT?
“I think it’s a good formula, because the difference is made more by the rider than by the bike. Now it is the opposite, if you don’t have a good bike it is hard to be in front, but I think if all the bikes were closer in performance it could be a chance for riders who otherwise would not have a good bike. I think it’s a good idea for the future, for next year I think if you don’t have a MotoGP bike you can’t be near the front.”
How strange and/or difficult is it for a rider to find yourself struggling, because with the package available you’re unable to get the results you want?
“It’s strange because I arrived from 250cc where I fought for victory in every race and for the championship, but after coming here I found myself without the possibility of doing this. So in these cases it is good to keep in mind what your potential is, otherwise you end up depressed. It’s important in these cases to stay focused on the development work of the bike, take it to the best level possible and learn everything there is to learn as a rider. In the end, when I got good results, I can say I earned it myself. It’s important to know what you have in your hands and get to what you can do with what you have.”
Do you think this has made you a stronger rider than before?
“It did, because it has shaped my character. I grew a lot in these two years as a rider, especially because through my work with the team we have now brought back a bike that was almost given up on, no one wanted it. But now they all say ‘The Suzuki is not bad!’, this is certainly also due to me.”
On Twitter Paul Denning wrote “Interesting to see that Alvaro wasn’t as fast on the Honda as @RandydePuniet14 was on our bike, and in better conditions / more laps. Hmmm.”
[Laughs] Honestly I do not know what to think. Everyone is free to write what he wants, they’re his thoughts and so he wrote it. It’s strange because our relationship ended very well. The important thing was not the first day of testing, but finding the right harmony with the team and do well this season. I have always been happy with the Suzuki team and all the boys, if it had only been up to them I would have never left the team.”