Hector Barbera top rookie at Valencia test

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Hector Barbera grabbed some of the attention away from Marco Simoncelli and Alvaro Bautista to end the Valencia test session as best rookie.

Making his debut on the Aspar Ducati, the Spaniard ended the test with a fastest time of 1.33.787 to finish 0.069s clear of former world 250GP champion Simoncelli and 0.370s ahead of Alvaro Bautista.   

Barbera was only 0.323s away from factory Suzuki rider and veteran campaigner Loris Capirossi to finish less than two seconds off the best pace set by factory Ducati rider Casey Stoner. 

Barbera said: “I am really happy because over the last three days we have improved every time we have been out onto the track and in the end we’ve set a respectable lap time. I felt very comfortable on the Ducati and I did a lot of laps – I couldn’t get enough of it!

“The physical demands are much higher so I will have to adapt to it slowly because my shoulders and forearms were very tired today. That could also be due to the fact that with the GP and the test we’ve been non-stop for six days now.

“The first lap I did on Monday was chaos – I couldn’t find a single reference point because everything was so different but with a little patience and a lot of hard work I have established a good feeling with the bike.

“I think I will have to build my strength up, although not too much because I can’t afford to put any bulk on. It is a case of building up muscle endurance. Today was the most fun I had on the bike from the start.

“As soon as I went out I was on the pace of my quickest lap from yesterday and I improved from there. We tried the harder tyres for the first time and I went even faster. We also tried a softer rear shock and a few other settings that allowed me to understand the bike better.

“I realised above all that when you’re picking the bike up you have to really use your body and start doing it in the middle of the corner because if you don’t the bike doesn’t respond as well when you open the throttle.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt