The young Spaniard had some highs and lows during the first nine races of the MotoGP Championship, with two podiums but also four DNFs. His recent second place in Assen is the best result for him in MotoGP so far.
“The first half of the season has been a very important school for me. First of all, most of the races were on completely new circuits for me, as last year I missed five races due to the injury on my wrist, so it’s been a sort of new beginning.
“Secondly, I made some mistakes and had four crashes in eight races, which doesn’t seem like a positive thing but at the end of the day it was something that taught me important lessons.
“This year we have a completely different situation technical-wise; the GSX-RR is a lot more competitive and I can feel a lot more confident on it. This allowed me to grow a lot, but I also needed to understand the limits, which probably is the main cause of my DNFs.
“On the other hand, in the races where I could find proper feeling and confidence on the bike I could harvest very positive results. The third place in Argentina and the second in Assen are the most outstanding, but also the fifth place in Mugello in a full recovery race was a good signal of our competitiveness. The competition is very high, with many riders capable of very fast times in qualifying and of fierce battles in races, it’s definitely not an easy thing to stay on the top in this MotoGP class.
“From a technical point of view, the GSX-RR has improved a lot since last year. We could get rid of the engine issues that we had last year, and indeed the new spec engine that the Japanese guys delivered in Catalunya (for Guintoli) and then to Andrea Iannone and myself in Assen is a further improvement: Usually when you gain in some areas, such as top speed like this case, you lose in some others, but in our case the Suzuki engineers made an excellent job keeping the same character and smoothness in low-mid ranges but adding some pepper on the top.
“We also got an improved chassis that I’ve been using since Mugello; it’s the same chassis but with some carbon fibre reinforcements that help us to better control the stiffness. I would say it’s not a huge improvement, but it’s more a matter of little improved feelings that I have while riding, which may not determine a huge drop in the lap time itself but for sure helps me to have a better confidence and hence to improve the lap time.
“Apart from the pure results, I consider this first part of the season very positive, especially for all the things that me and my crew have learnt about the machine, but also for what concerns my riding style and our working method.”
Find BikesportNZ.com on FACEBOOK here