Bautista ready for new challenge: “There’s a lot to be done, but we already know which direction to take”
Álvaro Bautista picked up a very special gift yesterday afternoon as he visited the local Mercedes Benz dealer Autasa for a media appointment and was handed the keys for his new white Mercedes C200 CDI by sales manager Jaime Martín. The new Honda Gresini rider obviously was delighted about his new completely tricked out car and will be driving it in his hometown Talavera de la Reina during this year to promote the car dealership while he has it.
After the presentation the 27-year-old answered the questions of the journalists in a press conference. He explained that his new Honda RC213V machine for this season allows him to ride more consistent lap by lap, that the exit from the corners is smoother and that it’s overall less physically demanding. But he acknowledged that him and his new team still have a lot of work ahead of them to get the maximum performance out of the bike. “There’s a lot to be done, but we already know what it is and which direction we should take”, he confirmed.
“The first test [at Sepang] was very important for me. I’d never ridden a 1000cc before and the Honda only very little. My feeling was very positive. The bike is a 1000cc, but you barely notice that when you ride it, compared to the Suzuki. Therefore I left very satisfied and I think we’re on a good way. The team is full of motivation and eager to work.”
After the second test at Sepang which will take place next week, the upcoming test at Qatar next month will also be very important to iron out any problems they encountered during the tests at Sepang. It will also allow him to get a first feeling for the track where the inaugural race of the season will be held again at night. “It’s a pretty fast track with high-speed corners, but what I like the least is that the field of vision is reduced quite a bit [at night] and there’s a humidity in the air that can make you crash when you least expect it and without any apparent reason.”
Looking ahead to the season on a whole, he’s determined not to fall for false presumptions early. “I haven’t set any goals yet, because I have a lot to improve and it’s difficult to say where I could be. The first thing I have to do is to familiarize myself with the bike and after that God knows. If everything goes as I think, we can get good results. Regarding the title favourites this year it’ll be difficult as Honda is strong, Yamaha has grown a lot and Ducati will be there, simply because they have Valentino Rossi.” Asked about whether he’d put himself among the favourites, he flashed one of his trademark big smiles and admitted “I’d like to be among them, but it’s still too early to say who’ll be among the favourites.”