First top ten finish for Rookie Barbera
The MotoGP World Championship moved to the historic French circuit of Le Mans for round three this weekend, but it was the Spanish national anthem that provided the soundtrack to Sunday’s podium ceremonies. The track saw a similar feat in 2003, with victors from Spain in all three categories. The premier class was the headline act, and it was Jorge Lorenzo who kept up national pride with his second consecutive victory. The Fiat Yamaha rider escaped from Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa –his colleagues on the front row for the race- at the midway point, but the battle behind him between the newcomers to the category provided the excitement.
The best rookie on this occasion went to Héctor Barberá. The Páginas Amarillas Aspar rider started from the penultimate grid spot for the French GP, and didn’t have the best of getaways from the line. However, he soon found himself moving up places and latching onto the top ten group. A racing incident with Hiroshi Aoyama halted his progress, but did not dampen his determination. The Spaniard decided to take matters into his own hands and chase down those in front, eventually bringing his Ducati satellite bike home in eighth place and collecting his best finish to date on an 800cc bike.
8th Héctor Barberá: “I am very happy and think that the post-Grand Prix test that we did at Jerez was very important for us. We found a few adjustments that have really worked out. The team worked very well this weekend; despite us losing our way a little, they prepared a very good bike for the race. I was second-to-last on the grid, and my thinking was that only one rider could overtake me and I had nothing to lose. With this idea in mind, the goal was to enjoy the race –something that I hadn’t yet been able to do. I discovered early on that the left-handers were difficult for me, as the tyres didn’t have a chance to get up to temperature on that side. I started to get more confident as the laps progressed, although when I had a light coming together with Aoyama I lost a few positions. Then I made another fightback and got up to eighth. I am highly satisfied, because the front end feeling was finally good for me. I am aware that my over-exuberance in the first two races stopped me from doing well, but the goal for this race was to not lose touch of the group ahead. I achieved this and for that reason I can be happy.”