Catching up with Álvaro after the qualifying which he finished in 11th position, he told us a little bit about his feeling on the bike and the expectations for the rest of the weekend.
As conditions were very tricky with the rain coming down heavily ahead of the afternoon session, it might have even been a blessing in disguise for the Talaverano that he didn’t have to push for one fast lap to qualify well. “With these conditions it’s always difficult to ride, because there was a lot of water on the track”, Álvaro stated. “I just did a free practice for me, because I didn’t want to risk a crash or something. I’m gonna start from last position, so there was no point in risking too much.”
Still wishing for dry race conditions, it might be a difficult task for him catching up after only limited time in the dry. “This weekend we have only one dry practice, so we couldn’t work a lot with the bike. But my feeling was not too bad, because we had some ideas to improve the setting of the bike.”
“In the wet we’re working very hard, because always in these conditions we struggle a lot and we are now improving the feeling slowly. But in general I’m happy with the potential of the bike and the work we are doing.”
Coming to the track on a 1000cc bike for the first time obviously made a lot of difference, but while some riders mentioned more sliding due to more power, making it a little more tricky to get around the track, things felt different for Álvaro as he switched from Suzuki to Honda for this season and for him the difference was a positive one. “I feel more stability with this bike. The Suzuki was moving around more, even with less engine power. But for sure this bike is much better on the frame setting and the package is much better than the Suzuki. The first time I got on this bike it felt like it had less power than the Suzuki, but it’s not real, it’s just because Suzuki moves more on the straight and the exit from the corners. But it’s totally different, so I can’t compare one bike with the other.
Sachsenring is not one of Álvaro’s favourite tracks, its tight and twisty nature reminding him more of a karting track than a proper MotoGP circuit, but he appears to have made peace with it for now. “You know, when you go to a track and the bike works then you like the track and when it doesn’t work you don’t like it. But here I did a very good race with Suzuki last year and I have a lot of confidence to make a good race tomorrow, even if I start from the back of the grid. But my target is to arrive as far ahead as possible and to get some points.”But a strategy how to tackle the race was a little more difficult to formulate. “In this track it’s so difficult to start from the back, because you don’t have a lot of space between the start and the first corner to overtake other riders. But as I said, my target is just to finish as far ahead as possible and I think the best is to just try to find a good rhythm during the race and not wanting to push more than you can.”
Talking about the controversy about his crash at Assen and the subsequent penalty, he prefers to only look ahead now. “I prefer not to think about it anymore, it’s in the past and I just want to focus on this race. As I said last week, I don’t agree with the decision of Race Direction, but I have to forget about all that and just think about this weekend.”
His recent good form, a pole position and very competitive fourth place at Silverstone, also shows the progress he made working with the suspension as he’s the only rider in the MotoGP class using Showa and can’t rely on references from others. “We are doing good work, both the team and me. For sure, we don’t have any references and so the development is slower. But I’m very happy, because everyone at Showa is working very good for me and we’re doing a good job, always improving the suspension. But for sure it’s more difficult than if you’d have some references.”
So far it looks like Álvaro could get his wish for a dry race granted as the sky above the Sachsenring is spotless for the warmup sessions and the sun is quickly drying up the remaining wet patches on the track.
Photos and text by Simona Vogel for Vroom Media