Álvaro Bautista’s Column, Motegi: I didn’t get the candy
I was close to my best result in MotoGP, but I pushed myself to not let Dovizioso catch me and I lost it. If you risk something you can make it or lose it. This was after overcoming the fear of going to Japan, but being there I enjoyed the fans. Congratulations to Terol, Marquez and Checa and best wishes to Gadea and Barbera.
Greetings. Ohayo! I don’t know if that’s spelled correctly, but it means “Good Morning” in Japanese, I learned a few words this weekend. Today I’ll talk more about how the Grand Prix was away from the television cameras rather than about the race itself, because my feeling is like if you show a child a bit of candy and as it is going to grab it you take it away from its hands. I was very close to my best result in MotoGP. After the strange start I thought, maybe not a podium, but fourth was possible although Dovizioso came up very fast behind me, he was making up a second per lap; I did the math and the result didn’t look good, so I tried to follow the reference of Stoner after he had zoomed past me on the line. I pushed it a little more and I lost it, but that’s racing. Well, and life in general; when you risk something you can win, but you can also lose; the important thing is to always try again, always! Never give up.
Fear and tremors. I want to start by explaining a bit the situation we found ourselves in and how we actually lived. There was much controversy as to whether we would go or not, there were people who exaggerated things and it made everything very dark, and others who acted like nothing ever happened. I honestly was a little scared, because I didn’t know what we would have to face. But after the reports said that the tests they conducted were negative, we had to trust that. Perhaps the biggest fear was that something would happen during the week and that the nuclear plant, which is just over a hundred kilometres away, would have a problem. And of course there was the water and food, it wasn’t clear whether it would be okay.
Once there, everything seemed normal, everything in order, like the Japanese always have been. No alarm, everything controlled, normal people without three arms or anything like that, haha! This gave me so much confidence, I had in mind not to shower the entire weekend, and the first day I just did it and got into the shower. Although I must admit that there was one point when I was a bit scared, it was on Thursday afternoon when I was in the hotel, the ground suddenly began to shake a little, I thought it was from the room next door, but it continued and I felt it a lot. It was an earthquake. No pictures fell off the wall or anything, but the scare it gives you is a strange feeling. Apparently there were more earthquakes, but I slept through them and didn’t feel anything and they weren’t as big as this, which they said was a 5.2. Not bad for being the first I experienced.
Japanese affection. Another thing that was normal were the fans. Well, as normal as they are there, because you can’t imagine the passion they have for motorbikes. It’s amazing, I think we signed more autographs than we did kilometres on the bike. It is also very interesting, there is one person who asks for an autograph or picture and suddenly you’re surrounded by masses of Japanese. Of course, all of them very polite. I always feel loved in Japan, I have great fans and they even bring me gifts every year. And this time more than ever they have been very grateful that we have come to their country, they knew it was not certain that we’d come, but in the end there we were, trying to give them a show and for a moment make them forget the hard time they’ve gone through the last few months.
Spanish titles. As always I want to congratulate the Spanish riders who have finished on the podium and especially Nico, because even if he’s lost five points, he only has to manage his advantage in the three remaining races to see the 125cc title come to Spain. And Marquez, who has taken the Moto2 lead and is the strongest rider in the category, hopefully this title will also be Spanish. And I take the opportunity to congratulate someone who already has the title, Carlos Checa, who took the one that was missing for Spain, the Superbike Championship. A great reward for all of his great career, I’m delighted for you, Carlos.
Best wishes. I don’t want to leave without sending my best wishes and a speedy recovery to my friends Sergio Gadea and Hector Barbera, who’ve been injured in Motegi and are still in hospital. I know how bad it is away from home under these conditions. Now a week off, I stay in Thailand, so I don’t have to get used to the time difference again, the next race is in Australia and the jetlag is tough to get over. A big hug for everyone!
Photo: Rizla Suzuki