Alvaro Bautista: “I have private talks with my bike”

 In MotoGP

A new interview with, conducted ahead of the Spanish GP in Jerez this weekend, gives some more insights into Alvaro’s world and his experiences in MotoGP.

He needs time and kilometers, so that the results arrive on the back of his Suzuki GSV-R. Alvaro Bautista (Talavera, 1984) faces this weekend in Jerez de la Frontera the second MotoGP race of his career. He arrives at the Andalusian track still short of time and kilometers, but he knows that the passion of the fans will push him higher.

Is this going to be a “Tremendo” [tremendous] year like your favourite song from El Canto del Loco?
More than tremendous it will be a year of learning. There are many new things for me, the motorcycle, the surroundings, tyres, the team, the way to work. I think there’s a big improvement margin and my goal is to go step by step and get closer to the front. I need to find my place. It is a difficult year and perhaps we won’t have the best results, but it is a big change.

Was this a big blow for you?
One millisecond is very little, but the fact is that in MotoGP everyone rides with the knife between the teeth from the first moment on. It is necessary to be already grown when coming into this category, because to scrape away one tenth is a whole world. It thought that it was going to be a little easier, but it’s not.

What has you surprised the most about the big class?
The power never stops! The first day that I got on the Suzuki I was freaking out. In 250 you could accelerate without problems but not here, because the bike wheelies all the time and you have to try and control this. The electronics also make you change your “chip” because in the corners you open the throttle and the bike helps you to get out of the corner even when you think you won’t make it. It’s important to work on that, because you must know about this and ride accordingly, without your head telling you something different.

And what do you have to work on?
Compared to other riders I can still improve the exit of the corners. I’m lacking a bit in acceleration because of the electronics and others manage them better, but this is a question of time.

Does riding in MotoGP require bravery?
For the riders who have been around for a long time these bikes are no longer such “beasts”, but for us newbies they are still real rockets. You need to have some guts riding them, but the laptimes throughout the field are still very close together.

One second means a world here.
Indeed. To file away tenth by tenth is a monstrous task and you have to ride as perfect as possible. Here an error is not allowed at any moment.

What advice can a veteran like Loris Capirossi give you?
I explain my feelings on the bike to him and our relation is very good. We don’t keep things from each other as it happens in some teams. The goal is to work for Suzuki and with him I can learn faster. He knows the bike well and gets closer to the limit than I am.

How is the Suzuki?
This might sound bad: It is a good bike, but it doesn’t have the pieces in the right place to make it work. What I mean is that we have all the pieces of the puzzle which we need to put together and when we did that it will be precious. It is not as bad as it seems, but we need to put the pieces together right. It can be competitive and its strength is the braking.

Did you leave Qatar angry?
The crash in the last lap did not bother me that much. What was worse was that they pushed me off track at the beginning and I had to do the whole race on my own without any fights.

Why did you choose Suzuki?
To work with a factory is better than to ride in a satellite team and to speak with the guys who built the engine or the chassis is a lot more direct than to just hope for improvements; they can change things for you when you need it.

Are the five Spanish riders in MotoGP talking among each other?
Mmm… we say “Hello”, “How are you?” and “See you”, that’s it. I’m not on bad terms with anybody, but there’s no need to talk more than that. It’s not possible to be friends with other riders. My best friend in the races is my bike.

I know you kiss the bike and treat it during each GP like a partner. Are you talking with it?
I try to take good care of it. I treat my bikes like they were my girlfriend. The greeting is just like you would greet a girl with two kisses. And sure I talk to it.

Pardon the indiscretion, but what do you say to it?
That’s private; these are things between a couple.

I understand. Did your life change in MotoGP?
Honestly no, I’m still the same, what has changed is the engine power… [laughs]

And the training?
I hasn’t changed as you might think. It’s more a question of riding the bike right around the track, which is why being stronger won’t help you going faster.

What can you learn from Rossi?
Everything. From the character to how he rides the bike, how he works, how he behaves, he’s one of the best riders in history. Every second you can ride behind Valentino on the track is like gold and I tried to hook on to him, but he makes it hard…

Do you think it’s a disadvantage that you didn’t race in Japan?
For me, yes. I would have preferred to race there, because I would have gone to Jerez with more data and a better feeling for the bike. I need time and kilometers.

And in Jerez, what are you hoping for?
It is more difficult than at other circuits, because everyone knows you, but I try to be in my world. I like it, because already before the race I feel the passion of the fans and something enters your body that lets you grow. You won’t hold anything back.

How would you define yourself?
I am how I am. There are more serious people than me, I like to get along well with everyone and it’s rare that I’m in a bad mood. It costs nothing to behave well with other people and when you treat them well, they will rate you highly.

What is a Bautista Sunday like in Talavera de la Reina?
I train in the morning and in the evening I get together with my friends, my people, my girlfriend. In a race I am not thinking about what I have outside of racing and reversely when I’m away from the track I don’t think about racing.

Translation by the crew of & and without any warranty. When in doubt, consult the source.

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