An exclusive interview with Hector Barbera, who is the leading satellite Ducati rider in the MotoGP World Championship standings.

The Spaniard is to remain at the Avintia team next season, where his machinery will be upgraded from GP14.2 to 2016 Desmosedicis...
You're probably one of the most experienced riders in GPs and you're continuing to push, what's the motivation?

Hector Barbera:
My motivation is to attain I dream I have always had which is to become one of the top 5 riders in the MotoGP class. I achieved that level in 125s and 250s and feel I can do that here.

Also with the results as they are and the plans for next year this dream is at last looking possible
Given your performance in the 250s, shouldn't you be dreaming of becoming champion?

Hector Barbera:
No, no dreams also have to be realistic and I need to take this step-by-step and also make my targets one at a time to keep the motivation.

A few years ago when I started in MotoGP I was regularly between 15th and 20th, last year I made a step forwards and this year I'm fighting for places between 7th and 10th so now at last I can say that my next step is to be in the top 5 and feel that it is a goal I can fight for.

If I can do that regularly then maybe in the future I have the chance of a factory ride then the dream becomes the championship. You have to understand that I have been in the world championship for many years and I understand the need for targets to be realistic so that you can keep the motivation in the long term but you can be sure that if the title is anywhere within reach or even sight that I'll grab it with both hands.
At one stage this year you were top Ducati rider - were you surprised?

Hector Barbera:
I know how I have done in previous classes, my ability and how hard I work so I can never be surprised but this year the great factors were the new regulations and tyres. The winter tests with these already showed me that I was getting closer to the front guys so when I started the year I already had great self-belief.

When we started the year we already noticed that we were closer to the front and that in turn gave me more confidence which again allowed me to be more competitive. When good things happen it is like a circle. It really all happens in your mind, when you can see the front, you get more motivated, you want to train more and that's where we are now - I can't wait to race.

If you look at bikes like Cal's Honda and the Tech 3 Yamahas you could say that they are only one step behind the full factory bike whereas you could say that we are two or three steps behind, so I am hoping that shows how hard I am trying.
Would you say that this is one of your most exciting years in the world championship?

Hector Barbera:
I would say so, it's the first time that things are so close and so possible, the new regulations have shaken things up in a good way for me. Close racing makes a year exciting.
...and you are doing all this on a Ducati 14.2 do you think you get credit for your achievements?

Hector Barbera:
The paddock is a knowledgeable place so the people there who know the bike understand what I am doing and can understand my achievement.

For me it is just a shame that the people enjoying the sport at home can only see that I'm riding a Ducati, they don't know if it's a 14, 15 or 16 so can only compare me with the factory riders on the 16.

In fact for me regardless of whether it's a 14.2, in comparison with the bikes I have ridden in the past it is unbelievable. We already have 2 years of racing and data with it which makes it so much easier to set up. We have put together a good bike here.

When Ducati ask me what I would like to improve on the bike though I would always say more power. Our bike is obviously slightly down on factory bikes and even though I am good at getting speed from a bike, factory 14.2s were always 10kph ahead. Our main weakness at the moment though is quick changes in direction like in chicanes, it doesn't want to steer quickly.
It sounds as if Ducati's strategy of developing the new software with satellite teams is helping you

Hector Barbera:
Definitely, I think that their extensive testing last year has allowed us all to start fast. Also because we were doing so much of the testing teams like ours have made a good step forward from last year whereas the factory team haven't done so well and this has helped make us closer.

But still for me the most important thing is that we are all using the same electronics - it makes the racing fairer.
Do you have any Ducati people who work directly with the team?

Hector Barbera:
We have two electronics engineers, one with each rider, and then a coordinating engineer to work with them who then communicates with Ducati.
I'm thinking that the data from other teams running Ducatis wouldn't be very useful to you as they are running such different bikes?

Hector Barbera:
That's right, we work pretty much independently, using data from GP15s and 16s really makes no sense. We are doing our own thing with the full support and help of Ducati but the directions and ideas come from us.

This makes me very proud of what we have achieved given the resources we have, it's fair to say that the team works very hard and I am thankful to them for what they have done
Tell us about next year

Hector Barbera:
Well, firstly I'm staying here in this team.

I'm keeping the same engineers, electronics people suspension engineers and crew chief because it's clear to me that things are working well but the big difference will be the bike and that's what I'm looking forward to.

The bike will be a GP16, after the last race in Valencia we will receive one of the factory bikes of either Iannone or Dovizioso.

I think this perhaps shows that Ducati have been taking notice of what I have been achieving here, until recently I was the top Ducati despite racing against versions which are more competitive. I've always liked our bike and never complained about it but I am looking forward to the 16.

In Ducati there is never a problem with information exchange so I am hoping that riding a 16 will mean that we can also use more data from other riders.
So it's same rider, same team, better bike, better data, what results can we expect?

Hector Barbera:
No, no we don't want to make unwise promises, at the moment we are just past half way through this season and I want to focus on the races remaining but I have seen the bike on track and I think it could be the one to help me get to the dream I was talking about before.
What was your perspective on the disqualification in Austria?

Hector Barbera:
It wasn't me ignoring anything, it was just very hard seeing my pitboard. Both my pitboard and race direction were using yellow characters and I find those more difficult to see in the short time we have. In Austria when coming onto the main straight your focus is mainly on not touching the red line anyway so that makes it more difficult.

We checked the dashboard afterwards and it was working but during the race with all the stress I just didn't see it, maybe it's something that we have to make more clear in the future.
Lastly I notice that you are another top rider who comes from the small area of Spain in the North East, what makes this area so successful for bike racing?

Hector Barbera:
Well I am from Valencia, not Barcelona but it is quite close. Honestly I think it now comes from a tradition, we have produced great riders in the past and that means that we produce more. Now that this is established there is a lot of motorcycle promotion which goes on there so that has just made it more dramatic. Success breeds success.

But as a man who comes from Valencia to succeed in motorcycle racing I would recommend eating more paella!
Thanks for that Hector and good luck in the race.

Hector Barbera:
No problems.

Barbera went on to finish fifth in the wet Czech Republic MotoGP, having been as high as third during the middle stages of the race.



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