Álvaro Bautista’s AS Column from the Qatar Grand Prix: Bittersweet emotions
As he did in the last two years, Álvaro Bautista will once again be writing his personal Grand Prix reviews after each race of the season for Spanish newspaper AS. After the inaugural race in Qatar last weekend he wrote the first one of 2013, looking back at a bittersweet race. Below you can find the complete translation.
I’m back. Hello again, friends! Another year of racing has begun and once again I’m here to write down my thoughts after each Grand Prix. Has the waiting gotten too long for you? For me it did a little, although to be honest I had little free time this winter, I’ve been busy with intense physical preparation for this very moment: The start of the 2013 MotoGP season!
Losail. What excitement and tingling you get in your stomach when after the preseason tests you can say: “This is it, it starts again”. You start to do it all again: videos, photos, interviews, briefings, schedules… Like in recent years we kick off the season in Qatar with a night race. It’s a very nice track to ride, with fast corners, combinations, hard braking… put the fact that we race at night I personally don’t like that much. The circuit is well lit, but it’s a strange feeling, because we are used to always race in daylight. Furthermore, it’s always quite windy and being situated in the middle of the desert (Doha, the city where we stayed, is 27 kilometres away), the track is full of sand. This year, even after the MotoGP race was done, if you went about 40 centimetres off the race line, there was still dust rising. Every year we have this problem…
Without confidence. I was pretty certain that this year I’d do better on this track than last year, because we had improved a bit during last season and in the winter tests improved the setting of the bike, especially of the suspension, because the bike is not much different from the previous one. In 2012 I had quite some problems here and we weren’t very fast, but this year I expected it to be different. I don’t know for what reason, the track conditions or myself, but the feeling wasn’t much better. We worked hard, but I didn’t have much confidence in the front end. In fact, all riders were able to start the race with the hard front tyre and I had to use the soft one, because it felt less bad with it. I tried to be with the group which in the end fought for the podium, but I couldn’t brake like them, I was on the edge in every corner. When I lost touch with them I tried to focus and ride the best I could, being careful with the front, to finish the race and take away as many points as possible with the problems I had. In the end I was sixth, my best result at this track in MotoGP, but with a bittersweet feeling, because we didn’t manage to make me feel comfortable on the bike. This is the first race, there are still many to go and I’m sure we’ll be able to be competitive.
Impressed with Marc. An incredible debut from Márquez in the category, getting a podium at a circuit which was more suited to the style of the Yamahas. Seeing him ride on track is amazing, it seems that in every corner he’s going wide or is on the verge of crashing, but that’s his style and he’s going fast this way. Congratulations, I think this year he may even fight for the title. And another rider everyone’s been looking at is Rossi, he rides again like himself. He feels comfortable with this bike and enjoys riding, he did a great race. Now when I pass him I’ll really get that poster made! Haha. And Lorenzo pushing from the first lap was unreachable for everyone. This year there’ll be a lot of battles at the front and I will try to be in some of them…
Other classes. Once again Spain showed that there is the young talent and a future for our riders. in Moto3 we had a great battle for victory. Salom won ahead of Viñales and Rins, but each of the three deserved the win, including Álex Márquez who was in the fight until the end. Moto2 was won by the rider everyone was betting on, Pol Espargaró, although it wasn’t easy with a fight until the last lap with Redding. He’ll have some competition this year, but I think he’s the big favourite for the title.
Next race. Now a week off before travelling to Austin, a new track, but not for everyone as some have already tested here. I’m excited to see the layout and be able to ride it, it looks fun and very technical. Let’s see if I feel comfortable there and can be more competitive. Have a good week!