Season 2008 is over and now new intentions arise and work begins so that future goals can be fulfilled. Alvaro Bautista dismissed the past year, working with the look towards 2009 at the test in Cheste. In this interview the Mapfre rider comments on the last sensations of the year on board of the Aprilia RSA, reviews the second place in the 2008 championship and sets the goals for the next season.
1) -What was the biggest development you worked on during the November test?
We were working to make the new electrical part that Aprilia has developed working correctly. We really got a lot of work done, facing the first test of January.
2) – Another important test?
We work with diverse modifications on the front fork and established a good base for future work. As a result of those modifications – focused in the settings of valves and suspension – we discovered more configurations that we can work with during the year, based on the exigencies of each circuit. Basically those were our important tasks: the electrical part and the modifications on the front suspension.
3) – Before thinking about the next season, can you give a review of 2008?
It was a complicated year in which there was a lot of expectation in the preseason, and in the first races, due to diverse circumstances, we did not finish with the results we deserved; in spite of being always ahead in the training. From the race of Barcelona onwards everything was better, and we got ten consecutive podium positions. But all throughout the season we had to push and work our way through, due the disadvantage of points in the classification. The motivation was not lost at any moment, but we couldn’t risk anything since we could never allow us the luxury to lose a point more. It was a year of tension in which I have learned a lot, because I believe that the bad moments are the ones when you gain more experience and get stronger.
4) – With a fabulous finish of the season, what do you think can be improved compared to the last season?
If we had started well, certainly the confidence would have given us the opportunity to risk a little more. If this year we begin more regular, even when we do not win, little by little we will have the confidence necessary to beat our rivals. We must try to be ahead, stay calm and count on the luck that we did not have last year. The championship is very long and it is necessary to try and be as close as possible to the first positions in the middle of the season.
5) –How was your first contact with the new signing of the Aspar Team, Mike Di Meglio?
Well, he is a rider who comes from being World Champion in 125cc and I believe that he will be very strong mentally. To be honest I haven’t had much contact with him yet, because we have only met in Cheste. He seems very focused on his work, somebody who does not worry what others do and does not care about unimportant comparisons. I believe that when he follows this way he is a very good companion. Personally I like doing my work without thinking about what happens around me, so I am convinced that with Mike we will have a good atmosphere.
6) –Do you think that he will adapt as easily as you did after being World Champion?
I believe that when you move up a category being World Champion you have another mentality. You are conscious that you can go fast and that gives you the confidence to progress. Even though in the first training he didn’t have overly remarkable laptimes, it is still long before the first race and I believe that when he finds his place in 250cc he will be a very competitive ride who you will have to watch out for.
7) -What did you do on Christmas?
I have spend the time with my friends and my family. I have also done some commitments for my sponsors. I have enjoyed, but without forgetting to train, getting a little bigger/getting heavier.
The most important thing is than I have been able to disconnect, to get a little distance and to turn the page, to be mentally stronger this New Year.
8) -How are the preparations for the first race of the season?
Nothing special, more or less as I prepared in the past seasons as well. When you have a certain consistency it is not necessary to give excessive importance to the physical training. The really important thing is to get a good setting with the motorcycle so that when you go to the races you have maximum confidence. Physically I’ve done very well last year, I did not have any problems, so I go with the same routine. If it worked for us: why change?
9) -How do you see the next season?
I believe that it will be a difficult season like the last one, among other things because the title holder of the category continues. And although Kallio has moved up to MotoGP, there are many other riders who will be at a very high level. I approach the season with the wish to enjoy it and the hope that luck will be on our side this time.
10) -A wish for season 2009?
My wish on the sport level is to be able to enjoy riding the bike and to ride as I like. I believe that when we work hard, the results will come.
11) -And goals?
In 2008 we were runner-up, therefore my goal for the next season is to be champion. The rider who defends the championship is the one who takes number one and we will fight to take it from him.
Source: Interview in Spanish original
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