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GP Week : Issue 163
Alvaro Bautista, 125 champion in 2006 and 250 runner-up in 2008, has had a rough ride in MotoGP – two years on the uncompetitive Suzuki, and a tricky time in 2012 on the only Honda, in fact the only MotoGP bike, on Showa suspension. Then an indiscretion at Assen’s first corner knocked off Lorenzo and put the Gresini team leader in the dog-box. We found the (almost) ever-cheerful Spaniard smiling through at Mugello, hopes undimmed. GPWEEK: To begin, we have to speak about Assen. ALVARO BAUTISTA: (laughs) You have to speak about it, but I prefer not. It is in the past. I made a mistake, I had a penalty, so I paid for that. So that’s all. How about the reaction of the other riders – have they been fair? These things can happen in a race. We saw in the past many accidents like this one. And it happened. It’s not the first for you: there was one in Valencia last year – but I think that wasn’t your fault. Yes, my front tyre touched the rear tyre of Dovi. I could not avoid him. You’ve switched from Suzuki to Honda this year. What’s the difference. The first time I jumped on the Honda it felt like ... less power. But it’s not real. With Suzuki every time I exit from the corner I felt more movement, instability. So that is why this bike felt less powerful, because this bike is more stable and more easy to exit from the corner. The second point is the electronics – totally different. This bike has more controls, and smoother riding. I can be smoother than the Suzuki. So the potential of the bike is better, and for sure it is much more enjoyable – especially in cornering. I always struggled to enter, especially in cold conditions ... with this bike, no problem, from the beginning. Is it the same spec as the factory bikes? (More laughter) I don’t know. They tell me yes,... but, I don’t know. Anyway our suspension is different (Showa vs the other wise universal Öhlins). It’s difficult to say because I don’t know about what is inside the bike or the electronics, the mapping and everything, because we cannot compare the data with the factory. They can see our data, but it only goes one way. Factory riders complain of tyre chatter. I never had that problem ... I don’t know if it is the suspension. Dani said ‘look at the lap times’, but yours are improving. Well ... that’s true when you are faster you find more problems. But now I am closer to the top and still I have not that problem. What does it mean, being the only one on Showa? It’s difficult to compare with Öhlins because it is such a different bike. We have no reference, we are working alone. That is always difficult when you are the only rider, and with no time to make a big change in the race weekend. But I’m happy because Showa are very focused to develop this suspension. How would you rate your adaption to the Honda? When you are fast you always go faster. My feeling is around 90 percent with the bike. So I feel I can improve more but it is difficult to get that last 10 percent. It gets harder. After the Catalunya test I was much better; we did a big step, but we need to make one step more. 5 MINUTES WITH ALVARO BAUTISTA Honda's 'other' Spaniard is having a difficult year as he explains to MICHAEL SCOTT 5 MINUTES 17 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: