A few days ago, luck turned its back on Hector Barbera. It should have been a peaceful day of training in Valencia, astride a small engine bike on the track adjacent to the main circuit. Instead, the Spaniard turned up to the team Reale Avintia presentation with his arm in a sling and a titanium plate on his fractured collarbone.
“Everything happens to me. Every time I get hurt, for some strange reason it is due to a mechanical failure - quipped Hector - This time it was the front brake that didn’t work. I used the back and the bike went sideways, but I was about to hit the wall so I went to the ground.”
Did you realise straight away that you had hit hard?
“Already as I was falling and that is the way it went. Some say that it is dangerous to train on a bike, but we riders have to do it. I usually do it on a flat track or cross bike, but even lapping on the tarmac is useful.”
You will be forced to miss the tests this week in Qatar…
“I would have tried to be there, but there was more to risk than to gain and along with the team, we decided that it would be best to stay home. Rehab takes time and I want to be ready in time for the first race.”
Will missing these tests have a heavy impact?
“It is always important to test in Qatar before the race. It is a night race and grip there is particular. Also, the first tests did not go extremely well.”
What was the problem?
“The front. On the last day at Phillip Island we had made a big change and it seemed to be in the right direction but it would have been important to have some confirmation.”
Has the lack of winglets had an influence on the bike’s performance?
“I think it is a disadvantage. Now we need to use a soft setting on the bike to get it to turn, but that creates problems on the fast corners. It doesn’t close the trajectory. We need to work on balance and the position in the saddle.”
They seem like the same problems that the factory riders were complaining of…
“The GP16 and the GP17 are very similar. I am happy with this bike. It is the best I’ve ever had in MotoGP. It is very competitive. It won two races with Dovizioso and Iannone last year.”
What are your goals?
“To be as close as possible to the top 5 and dream of the podium. Last year they did a 4th place. It isn’t impossible although I think that it will be difficult this year to have as many different winners as in 2016. There were too many particular situations.”
There is a lot of competition…
“Besides the factory teams, there is Bautista who was fast straight away, Crutchlow who is fast and Folger was also.”
All that’s left is to wait for the first race.
“At the end of the day it’s pointless to complain too much about the injury. Luckily I trained well over the winter and this down time shouldn’t cost me too much. I definitely want to ride a good race.”