Attentive, charming, cheerful, Alvaro Bautista (Talavera de la Reina, Spain, 1984) takes a cappuccino and joins the conversation with self-confidence. He was 125cc World Champion in 2006, 250cc runner-up in 2008 and is now the only Suzuki rider on the MotoGP grid.
Question. What did you play as a child?
Answer. Football, chapas [A Spanish kid’s game with bottle caps] and marbles. The bikes have always been in my life, but there was more.
Q. Where did you get your first kiss?
A. My first real kiss was long ago, on the day I celebrated my birthday with some friends. It was a birthday present…
Q. What is your house like?
A. It is very large, especially when it comes to cleaning, although I’m not the one to clean it. It is quiet and in modern style. It is in Talavera.
Q. What car do you have?
A. I have a Suzuki Kizashi, a new model from this year that the team gave me.
Q. Would you be able, as your father did, to build a bike from spare parts?
A. In the future, maybe. Right now I wouldn’t know how. In the past it was all more workmanlike and if you wanted something you had to do it yourself. We have become very spoiled.
Q. Wine or champagne?
A. It depends for what. If it’s a celebration, champagne; if it’s a dinner with friends, wine.
Q. What do you always put in your suitcase?
A. I take my mascot which always brings me luck. It’s a plush devil and it is the first thing I put in. I leave it in the hotel room.
Q. Do you follow any rituals at the races?
A. When I ride down pitlane past the garages I always do a series of mechanical gestures which help me to forget everything and focus only on the race. I touch my left leg and do some stretching on the bike.
Q. A couple of years ago you crashed doing a wheelie. Have you done that again?
R. Now I think more. But I still do them. Especially because with this bike it is easier, it has much more power.
Q. I’ve seen you recite poems to your bike…
R. Poems not yet. But we talk. I treat my bike like I treat my girlfriend. We talk about things, but I keep them private.
Q. How many bones have you broken?
A. I’ve broken one, two, three, four, five, six, seven … (counts while pointing at parts of his body). Seven large bones and many bones of the fingers.
Q. What colour do muscles have?
R. That reddish color of the steak you see at the butcher.
Q. Did you know that before breaking your femur?
A. No. I knew it after flying in from Qatar with an open wound in the thigh. I didn’t know it was like that.
Q. Is it possible to make friends in the paddock?
A. It is difficult. You can have very good relationships with people, but not make lifelong friends there.
Q. Where have you learned the Spanglish you’re using on your Twitter?
A. Here at the races. Working with people, listening. You have no choice. Or talking, it is a way to survive. Now I regret it and think I should have paid more attention in English classes at school.
Q. Who do you admire?
A. Mick Doohan. He was always my favorite rider since I was little. That he was able to win five world titles after having such a severe leg injury for me was incredible, a sign of complete triumph.
Q. What is your favorite compliment?
A. I’ve been told many times, especially by girls, that they are very fond of my eyes. I’d have said something else…
Source: El Pais
Photo: Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
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