Spanish rider Hector Barber and his team Avintia Ducati took a very tactical approach to the ninth round of the MotoGP season at the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring. It began in Free Practice when he decided to latch on to Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez.
He’s behind you…
Marquez was flying all weekend with Barbera in tow; for the remaining Free Practices, Qualifying and part of the race. It was during Qualifying 2 that was the most significant though as when Marquez set his flying lap of 1:21.160 (quicker than the Circuit Lap record he holds but not the Best Lap he has completed), Barbera was right there and his time, although it was 0.412 seconds was enough to secure him second on the grid, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) completing the front row.
German GP was a wet race
Using his position on the grid to his advantage as best he could, as it had rained hard before the race and the track was still holding a lot of surface water as it still lightly fell, the Spaniard had to do the best he could to remain with the front runners during the race. Having looked competitive in the warm-up it was down to remaining consistent in the race (and on the bike).
Barbera’s form continued as Marquez took the lead before Rossi overtook becoming the man to beat; Barbera remained in the lead group. The rain eased and the track started to dry though and so it was down to who had the best strategy in place.
Full credit goes to Barbera who proved more confident in the wet during the race as he was seen being held up by championship leader Marquez. At one point Barbera breezed past the Spaniard with ease, before Marquez entered the pits putting into plcae his strategy that helped him to win the race. He took on many factory riders as if the Ducati he was riding wasn't two years old.
Barbera chose to pit with seven laps remaining and returned on a bike with full slicks on. However he lost some positions as the track was still slippery and had to settle for ninth at the German GP.
A ‘crazy race’ for Barbera
Barbera described the German GP at the Sachsenring as “a crazy race” and felt that by the end he and his team were “unlucky.” He admitted he found the drying track difficult saying, “I struggle in mixed conditions.” During the wetter stages of the race from the start he said he, “Did my maximum and were in really good positions, but then when I changed bikes it was no so positive.”
Barbera felt he “lost too much time getting the feeling” during the first lap and then after the lead riders had switched bikes before him he said, “The pace of the guys who changed before was much faster, finally I lost many places.”
Barbera finished ninth after starting from second on the grid but still felt, “Overall it was a positive race” as they “were closer than ever to the front”; he praised his team saying, “The team did a fantastic job during the weekend.”
Had the conditions been different Barbera feels the result would have been too.
Reflecting on the weekend he said, “Yesterday we took second in qualifying and today we battled until the end of the race.” He felt it “was a shame” as he thought the conditions prevented him from being “able to show our potential with a good result” but reassured himself saying “ninth is not so bad.”
Remaining optimistic about the remainder of the season after the summer break he said, “We were competitive on the wet and also In the dry, so it’s just a matter of time to get an even better result.”
After a quick stop at the Red Bull Ring in Austria for two days of testing the riders have over three weeks of rest before returning for the tenth round at the same track. Barbera said, “Now we go into summer break seventh in the championship and ahead of the rest of Ducatis, so we must be happy.”