Manuel Puccetti wants to keep a tight hold of his new rider, experienced with both two and four strokes and hungry for a comeback: Hector Barbera, 32, has raced and won in 125, finishing as runner-up in 2004, scored podiums and wins in 250, finishing second in 2009, and done well in MotoGP on various Ducatis, including that of team Avintia for three consecutive seasons. Said team is down a rider right now, Tito Rabat having crashed in the wet last weekend. The Spaniard has broken various bones and will sit out the rest of the season.
Barbera would be a perfect replacement for Rabat and the Avintia team was quick to make the call; however, Puccetti has revealed how the Spaniard sees it: "Hector told me that he received this opportunity, but that he's not interested - reveals Manuel - because he doesn't see an interesting future for himself in MotoGP; Hector says that he's raced in that championship for years and that he now wants to focus on the production-derived series. Barbera says that his experience with prototypes is over and that he now wants to start over with the Supersport 600".
Well begun is half done as they say, Hector having completed two test days at Imola and Mugello for a total of 170 laps with his new team, which entrusts him with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-R left vacant by Kenas Sofuoglu; Manuel was keeping a close eye on the new arrival's work throughout the track sessions: "we've carried out two exceptional test days, working on many of the bike's details. We're all very pleased with Hector's approach to this new adventure, he's shown to be a real professional but also humble. I think Barbera will need a few races before he's competitive and fighting for the podium, for several reasons: the Spaniard is coming from a very different world, he's used prototype tyres, that are different to the Pirellis used here, the frame has reactions and adjustments that you need to get to grips with. Also, the tracks: Hector has never ridden at at least three of the SBK tracks and he'll need time to learn their secrets".
Portimao is in a few days time. What are your goals?
"Ours is a medium-term project, so I think the team and rider need time to put everything together. I think Barbera will soon be strong and will be up with the frontrunners in a few races time. We can do big things together".