After the first race of the season Álvaro sat down with Mundo Deportivo for a little interview about the new MotoGP formula, his new bike, competing with the Gresini team and supporting young female racer Maria Herrera.
Below you can find the complete translation.
We finished fairly well after a difficult weekend with lots of problems. I didn’t have confidence with the front tyre and things got even more complicated with a crash in the warmup. In the race I wanted to do better [he finished 7th with a gap of 0.033 seconds to Hayden in 6th position], even though I knew I didn’t have the bike I wanted. But in any case, I’m happy, because since Aragon last year I haven’t finished a race and for me it was important to achieve that.
The team chose the color black as a sign of mourning after the death of Marco Simoncelli. Do you think they have overcome it?
They still had the memory of [the death of Daijiro] Kato, so it’s hard to forget something like this. But I also see them very excited, very motivated with the new challenge this year. We have good support from Honda and we are working very well. Overcome it, I don’t think so. But I see them being optimistic.
It gets repeated constantly that you ride Simoncelli’s bike. Does that bother you?
That’s what you see from the outside, but it’s not the same situation. My crew is the one Aoyama worked with, I have signed with Gresini while Marco had signed with HRC. If people see it that way, I don’t attach much importance to it. I have the opportunity to be on this team; but if not, I could have still been with Honda and not because of this.
This year we start from scratch with the 1000cc prototype, but is there much difference between your bike the official Repsol Honda?
I haven’t seen what they ride from the inside, but in theory they are the same. Although the factory riders have tested a new chassis to fix the chattering, aside from the Öhlins suspension they use while I have Showa. I don’t know if I’ll get the chassis because I don’t have chattering. If it’s for this, I don’t need it.
Do you like the 1000cc bike more?
It’s strange, because the first time [I rode it] I thought the 800cc Suzuki had more power, but it was about the way it was transferred with the electronics. The 1000cc is fun and although it slides around, it has the power to take you fast out of the corner. The 800cc, if it slides a lot you feel that you lose a little. It [the 1000cc] is a bit heavier, yes, but fun; it always wheelies out of corners and you have to work hard on the electronics and your physical condition to be well-positioned on the bike.
Well, I try not to change a lot about the parameters they give us, because when they are good, they can help you a lot. But they can also give you a lot of trouble when you have it wrong. You go crazy, because your bike’s falling apart. Only when we are sure we make small changes.
This year your chief mechanic is Antonio Jiménez, a Belgian of Spanish origin. How long has it been since you last had a chief mechanic with whom you could talk in Spanish?
Since 2001 when I competed in the Spanish Championship. It’s funny though, because I have a Spanish technician, but the suspension guy is speaking French, the electronics guy Italian, there are English people around and in the end we talk very little about work in Spanish. With Antonio it’s going well, when he does something he’s confident in himself and not because he does it, he transmits tranquility and gives me confidence, I believe in him. Right now I’m very happy.
Do you have any contact with the other Honda riders, Stoner, Pedrosa and Bradl?
Just when we see each other in the paddock. Dani and Casey can see the telemetry data of all Hondas, but we can’t see theirs. They are the official factory riders, but we could reveal something to get a reference for improvement. But that’s how it is…
When will the best material show how far you can reach as a rider?
Everything will come. At the moment we are working with better material than last year and we must take advantage of it. And if one day the best of the best comes along, you have to use that as well. You have to work hard, because here nobody’s slow.
You sponsor and train with Maria Herrera. Do you think one day both of you will be in this paddock?
The girl is doing well, very well. And aside from being a good rider, she’s very affectionate and friendly. I am very happy with the team she competes with and, above all, the sponsor [Repsol] which trusts in her. She has the potential to be in the world championship and if she keeps doing things as she has done so far, she can be here, no doubt. And battle it out – not because she’s a girl, but because she’s a good rider.
Source: Mundo Deportivo