Alvaro Bautista’s Column, Indianapolis: Gaining Confidence
I return to Europe “americanized” after a week in Indianapolis, where after two races without finishing I returned to take points and witnessed a Spanish hattrick in Moto2. Now I’ll be home for a day, just enough to wash clothes and say hello and goodbye, because we’re going to Misano.
“Americanized”. Hello friends. I’m already turning into an American after so many days in the USA, I was almost a week there, because I usually travel on Wednesday to the races, but when we have time differences I like to go early to get used to it and to be in good condition for the weekend. A weekend that was, in general, very good for Spanish motorcycle racing, getting six podiums including two wins.
Debut. New asphalt on the track which was needed, because the old was cracked and even had grass growing through the cracks, it was fatal. And like all circuits when they are resurfaced, in the first session there is no grip. Moreover, the track was dirty, it was a mix between wet and dry while riding with dry tyres, making it almost a balancing act. But session after session the conditions and laptimes improved, in MotoGP and Moto2 the pole position record was broken and the circuit record in all three categories, all thanks to the new asphalt without bumps. Since at the beginning the track was not perfect I had to modify the bike almost every time we went on track as the grip was changing, but anyway, at this track we were struggling a bit more, we ride in the opposite direction of how the layout was designed and so the corners are a little strange, different from a normal circuit. You need to have good engine power in the corners to get out of them fast and I think with this Honda and Yamaha are a bit ahead of us. Anyway, we did a good job over the weekend, because from the first session on all riders had problems with the front tyre because of the new asphalt; it was destroyed quickly and it would be difficult to get to the end of the race with it in good condition, but we were searching for a setting after the qualifying with which it could last for more laps.
We needed points. Sunday, finally, after a not too bad qualifying – I started from ninth – but honestly, I did not have the pace throughout the weekend to be with the top riders because of what I told you earlier. But my strategy was clear, try to make a good start and push for the maximum with the leading group; I also could benefit from other riders having tyre problems, like it happened to Simoncelli. I had a great time when I went to pass Hayden, Edwards and Simoncelli and even trying to follow Spies and Dovizioso at first, but they were at a different pace and I could not follow, and later defending the attacks from Colin until I could open a gap to him. It was the maximum we could do, if no one crashes or has a mechanical problem sixth or seventh was the best, so I’m happy with the result because I gave my best with what I had, there wasn’t more. And also because after the last two races, which were good but we didn’t finish, we needed to finish and get points to gain confidence. I am now convinced that everything will be better. I think Stoner is already quite clear to take the title and that he is showing an incredible level, it will be difficult for anyone to take the title from him.
Spanish hattrick. Congratulations to the Spanish hattrick in Moto2, led by Marquez who was far above his rivals and is cutting the gap to Bradl in the championship a lot, it starts to get a Spanish air. And of course, great race for Pol Espargaro and Rabat. Let’s see if we see Pol more often in top positions as in the 125cc class. And Tito, who is doing great and has now topped it off with a podium. In 125cc we finally see a Grand Prix without problems for Nico and at a high level, he did a great first part of the race, breaking the circuit record three or four laps in a row and getting more dominance and distance in the championship. It was also nice fight for second place and in regards to Viñales, getting a new podium, this guy is showing a lot of promise.
Greeting and farewell. And this has been the weekend at Indy, now I’m a day at home, just to wash clothes and say hello and goodbye, because this week we’re going to Misano. Last year I finished eighth and I think I can do well; we have good references of the work from 2010 and it will help us to be more competitive and I hope that my Suzuki will perform at the level of the last races and we can be closer to the riders on the podium. There will also be a surprise on Sunday, so do not miss the race! See you next week!
Photo: Rizla Suzuki MotoGP