Hector Barbera will once again return to the factory Ducati squad this weekend in Phillip Island as the Avintia Ducati rider continues to replace the injured Andrea Iannone on the GP16 machine.
Thrown in at the deep end this weekend on the red machine, the Spaniard acquitted himself well up until a crash left him out of contention – but is relishing the chance to redeem himself this weekend in Australia.
“For me it was a fantastic opportunity to ride the 2016 Desmosedici GP and race for a factory squad like the Ducati Team and so I want to thank both Ducati and Avintia Racing for giving me this opportunity. For me it was all new: in fact, I didn’t know either the bike or the guys in the team, but after every session the situation improved a lot.
“Unfortunately in the race I was not able to get a good start, especially because the clutch is very different to the one I normally use, and I immediately lost two positions. I took a bit of time to pass Petrucci and then I caught Pol Espargaró, who I tried to overtake several times, until I tried with even more decision and unfortunately I crashed. I feel bad about it because I think that today I could have finished in fifth or sixth place.
“In any case I picked the bike up to finish the race, but in the crash the two wings had broken off and I was no longer able to ride it well. However it was a great experience and I am very happy that I have been given another chance next week at Phillip Island.”
He’ll continue to be replaced on the Avintia Ducati GP14 machine by Aussie Mike Jones, who rallied well to finish his first ever MotoGP race in 18th after being fired straight into the deep end in Japan.
“I’m very happy and I can’t believe the experience of finishing my first ever MotoGP race. It was fantastic to be part of the Avintia Racing Ducati team this weekend. They worked so hard to help me learn so much, but definitely I gained more experience through the race.
“My start wasn’t very good. We tried a practice start in the warm-up this morning and I felt really, really good, but we changed the clutch for the race and when I went to do the race start it felt different, so I really struggled with the start. Once I got going, I tried to follow the guys in front of me, but I had a few small problems and I couldn’t get the bike stopped like in qualifying.
“But I just wanted to finish the race, no matter how, and I did it. I really want to thank Avintia Racing and Ducati for this opportunity and I hope to do it better at Phillip Island.”