MotoGP: Barbera ‘the Yamaha and Honda will struggle’

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Hector Barbera says he’s expecting to see both Yamaha and Honda machinery struggle this weekend at MotoGP’s new venue the Red Bull Ring – and that he’s out to make the most of it on the Avintia Ducati.

The Spaniard finished last month’s first test at the Austrian track in fourth behind only the factory pairing of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati test rider Casey Stoner – and says he can capitalise this weekend on the others’ misfortune.

“I head to Austria with high confidence and ready to attack after our summer break. We all found time to relax, but I also trained hard over the recent weeks in order to be ready for this weekend’s race. I think the track is good for Ducati, which is good news for us. We usually get closer to the top when we go to new circuits, because everybody starts to work from zero.

“I finished fourth at the test we did at this track before the summer break, but if we leave Stoner aside, then I would have finished third, which gave me a boost of confidence ahead of the race this weekend. I don’t know if this will change for this weekend, but what I saw is that Yamaha was struggling, and that Honda was not very competitive either. The track is really fast, and if you have a fast bike, life is easier. So I think this will be a good race weekend for us.”

Teammate Loris Baz is also raring to get going again as he looks to kickstart his season after a long absence due to injury – but got a good chance to test his fitness levels last week with a trip to Valentino Rossi’s house.

“The holidays were good, but I spent most of the time training hard to recover strength and mobility in my foot ahead of the second half of the season. Of course I took some days off to relax completely, but then we started to train last week. I want to thank Valentino for inviting me to his Moto Ranch, where I spent two fantastic days riding with all the academy guys. It was an amazing experience.

“I want to get a strong start into the second part of the season, because the first nine races have been quite frustrating for us. We never showed our real potential. I want to get the good feeling back with my bike and I’m looking forward to start at Austria, even though I think we well see too much difference to the factory bikes this weekend. At this track, the engine will be important and also the winglets. But we have to put our head down to fight for a top ten finish. We have the bike to do it and now we just need to get the best out of it.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer