The Spanish patrol is the largest in MotoGP and this year even Ducati has representatives from it. Coming alongside the confirmed Barbera, on team Avintia, are star rider Lorenzo on the factory team and Bautista with Aspar.
It was Hector who, just a few days before leaving for Sepang, spoke about his compatriots dressed in red.
“I think Ducati got two good riders for this season - he comments - I think Alvaro can do really well as the bikes will be more similar this season, which will allow us satellite riders to compete with the front runners. Jorge was fast at his debut with Ducati at Valencia. He is a rider who has won championships and for sure he will be fighting to win races.”0
Of the two, Hector’s direct rival is Bautista who, along with Redding, will be riding a GP16.
“They will be the first I’ll have to beat. But not only them, there are 22 more riders on the grid and the more I can leave behind, the better - he continues - To be honest I feel great. I changed my physical training and I head to Malaysia in top form. I am strong and mentally I feel better than ever”.
All that’s left is to get on the Desmosedici 2016 that he was able to get to know in a couple GP races when he subbed for Iannone and then in the Valencia and Jerez tests.
“In those tests we had a gearbox issue - he recalls - but we have detected the problem and it should be fixed. If everything goes the right way, I will have two bikes at Sepang. This will allow us to work better. I will also receive new suspensions and that should help us to improve.”
Everything is ready and Hector is anxious to get off on the right foot.
“It is a really good bike and we have big expectations, we will be closer to the top - he says - It is difficult to set goals, because we did not even start the first test, but for sure the target would be to finish the year sixth or seventh, and try to be in those positions at every race. Being ambitious, I would like to be in the Top 5 regularly, and it is something feasible. We have the bike, the team and the rider to achieve this, so why not?”
In the meantime, until we see whether Barbera will be able to keep such a difficult promise, his final comment is on the lack of winglets.
“You can feel it - he assures - They make the bike more stable, you have less wheelie and you can use more power, so they are definitely an advantage. The only negative point is that you lose speed on the long straights. This year nobody will use winglets, so it is not something that worries me too much”.