After ten seasons as a 125cc grand prix rider - during which he claimed one win, seven further podiums and three poles - Pablo Nieto, son of '12+1' world champion Angel, called an end to his racing career at the 2008 Valencia season finale.
Nevertheless the Spaniard - plus his former team and sponsor - will be graduating to MotoGP in 2009, after putting together a deal to field returning former MotoGP World Championship runner-up Sete Gibernau on a new fifth Ducati.
Here Pablo, joint team manager alongside brother Gelete, talks about the formation of the new project and how 'Grupo Francisco Hernando Onde 2000 Guinea Ecuatorial' (shortened to just 'Guinea Ecuatorial Team' at Sepang) is adapting to the premier-class.
Gibernau finished the Sepang test, the first official track action of 2009, in twelfth position...Crash.net:
How difficult was it to start this new MotoGP project?Pablo Nieto:
It all happened within one year. My sponsor, Onde 2000, had made a team for me in 125 last year and we were considering what to do for 2009. When we had the opportunity to have a MotoGP bike from Ducati I decided to stop and we started talking to Sete. Everything just went step by step - it was incredible that it happened so quickly and smoothly!Crash.net:
How are things going so far?Pablo Nieto:
Yeah, it's hard because this is MotoGP and everything has to be perfect. We are a young team, all our mechanics and everybody in the team is young, so we have a lot to learn. We need to understand more about how to work on this bike for example, but we are getting there and everybody wants to do things well. We have to remember to take things step by step.Crash.net:
How is Sete getting on?Pablo Nieto:
Sete has a lot of experience but he stopped racing for two years and to start again is a little bit hard. But anyway I think he will do well.Crash.net:
What do you think of the new Ducati?Pablo Nieto:
I have never seen a bit like this! When I was racing in 125 the bike was very different. This bike has a lot of electronics and is completely different. Anyway, it is a fantastic bike and I think it is the best bike in MotoGP now. With this kind of bike we can do very well.Crash.net:
Are you ever tempted to get on the bike and try it?Pablo Nieto:
I only get on the bike when it is inside the pits, never try it!