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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Alex Barros Interview

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Alex Barros is a true one off. We’re not talking about his voodoo abilities here, or the fact that he looks just as tired in real life as he does on the TV. We’re talking about his career. No other rider in the modern era has raced against Gardner, Lawson, Rainey, Doohan, Rossi and Stoner in their prime. He’s also raced 500 two-strokes when they were the most difficult machines to ride on the planet (and broke more legs than Al Pacino), experienced the big-bang evolution, the four-stroke revolution and is able to compare the fire-breathing 990s with the (allegedly) easy to ride 800s.

Now out of a contract with MotoGP, Barros talks about Cagivas, Goodwood, Ducatis, what were the best bikes and what he’s up to now. I met Alex in the suitably plush surroundings of the Dunhill Driver’s Suite at The 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was difficult getting to speak to Barros, not because of all those years confronting Journalists has made him defensive, far from it, it was that no one knew what he looked like. But then, this is Goodwood. If you’re not Stirling Moss or Lewis Hamilton, you can go hang. This is hardly what you’d expect from a man, who has beaten Rossi and Schwantz in his career.

Barros, exclusively for MGPN spoke about his career and who’s the best and what he thinks of the current scene.

He then reflected on his career, “I’ve been racing 21 years in the World Championship, 29 in total. There are still some people pushing for me to come back, but I don’t know. I have had the pleasure to ride against many great riders.”

“I’ve raced against three generations of excellent riders the first batch like Lawson, Mackenzie, Spencer, Cardalora then Doohan, Criville, Gibernau, Rossi and Biaggi, now the new generation like Stoner and Pedrosa.”

However, Barros, who you’d expect to be in a prime position to name the greatest rider would not say who is his favourite, “As for the greatest rider. People say that in the 80’s and 90’s the 500s were the best and created the best riders. But I think it’s wrong to say that. You can’t compare Rossi to Agostini. Each year, the World Champion is the best rider of the moment. You just can’t compare them.” (Even Hayden to Rossi?)

“There is not just one rider, but many good riders. I’ve had the privilege to learn from great riders throughout my career as well. I learnt from Ron Haslam, still a great friend, Randy Mamola and Kevin Schwantz. I’ve been blessed in my career to race against so many decent riders.”

What does he think of the modern era, the 800s and the 990s, who have been blamed for making the sport boring? “Now the bikes are much easier to ride. I don’t like them. The 990s were the best bikes I’ve ever ridden in my life. When they first came out, they had no electronics. In 2003 and 2004 the bikes were fantastic, but then they started to get electronic aides. The 2005 bikes were starting to get that way and the 2006 bikes were more reliant on electronics but the 800s are reliant fully on electronics.”

“It’s like F1. You come out of a corner, full throttle and bang – the bike does everything no spinning or wheeling or anything. I know it’s safe, and the rider doesn’t crash as much, but the riders have lost the connection with the bikes. MotoGP should follow F1’s lead by making changes so that it’s the rider’s input that is the most important.”

“They need to take a step back. From my point of view, it’s not right. The 990s were fantastic without electronics. You had to control all of the problems yourself. You need some electronics, but you want the rider to be the main influence, not the other way round. The rider must do the job, not the bike.”

Continuing his comments on the current scene, Barros said, “If you race in a Satellite team like I did with D’Antin in 2007, you can’t do anything to the engine, it comes sealed. If the guy in the factory wants to do something to your bike, using Bluetooth they just change it and you can do nothing about it. This is very disappointing for the racing and the Championship as the politics come to influence the sport more. Before, politics did nothing, now it’s the other way.”

Barros is worried about the current class. Like all us punters, he thinks this year is a bit rubbish. He said, “I see the MotoGP class in a very difficult moment. There’s not many riders, the budgets are tight and take Assen this year, and a few riders crash and there were hardly anyone on the track.”

“They [Dorna] need to do something to reduce costs and make it easier for a Satellite team to win. At the moment, if you’re on a Satellite bike, you can do nothing. Everyone can say what they like, but I know this to be true.”

“If MotoGP wants to move on, they have to make two teams per factory, Kawasaki and Suzuki must have two teams and Ducati must have two proper factory teams so we can have decent races.”

Talking about the ‘nail for everyone else to ride but Stoner’ Ducati, he says, “The Ducati is not an easy bike to ride. It is a very point and squirt bike; it’s difficult. Loris (Capirossi) and I had the same problem last year. Casey Stoner is the only one who doesn’t have any problems. You check in the data-logging how he is going so fast and these settings are only for him – no one else can do what he’s doing. The bike’s not made for him, but it seems that way. When he first tested it at Valencia I was there and he was fast immediately on it.”

“At the moment, I think Ducati have made a mistake with this bike it was very successful last year but, Yamaha and Honda have caught up though. At Qatar last year, Stoner passed Rossi halfway down the straight, now it’s just before the braking point.”

“Only Casey can ride the bike now, they have to change it to develop it to make it more user-friendly for other riders.”

But would he ever go back if he had an offer? “I don’t ever want to go back to MotoGP. Never. I am looking to World Superbike. 2006 was excellent; the way I raced in 2006 on my bike, I can’t do it again. I want to go to a really good team and win the World Championship. It’s still my goal to win a World Championship. I have some really competitive offers, so for 2009 I will hopefully be back.”

“But, for now I am still racing. But racing Supermoto. It’s excellent as I can race with no pressure and just enjoy. I still love racing, it’s been my life. I hope to be back racing professionally next year.”

And that is where the interview ended. Barros has had criticism in the past over his riding, we’ve done it here, but he was quite a dude to meet in real life and really went for it when we spoke to him. Let’s see him have a go at Biaggi in ’09.


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 12:06 PM
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I always love seeing Barros' input on stuff. He's very much a straight shooter, tells it how he sees it, doesn't play politics.

Can say a lot of things about his riding, good/bad/whatever, the guy is still the youngest to ever have a ride in the premier class, and he's beaten every world champion of the last 20 years in a straight up fight at some point or another. He also generally doesn't try to make himself seem better, doesn't bend the truth much. Even when he was directly asked if Ducati "tuned up" his bike after he laid the whipping on Stoner last year at Mugello, he didn't say that it happened, that he thought it happened, he basicly said he wouldn't have ever known one way or the other without having a proper suspension tech, which wasn't Ducati's responsibility, it was D'Antin's.

HAIL TO THE KING!!

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 02:33 PM
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Cool.
Hope he gets back to Superbikes as I really think he could do well there.


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 07:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Continuing his comments on the current scene, Barros said, “If you race in a Satellite team like I did with D’Antin in 2007, you can’t do anything to the engine, it comes sealed. If the guy in the factory wants to do something to your bike, using Bluetooth they just change it and you can do nothing about it. This is very disappointing for the racing and the Championship as the politics come to influence the sport more. Before, politics did nothing, now it’s the other way.”
You see why I don't trust Ducati in racing.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Junior View Post
Can say a lot of things about his riding, good/bad/whatever
that pretty much summarises the selection of his results, and you never quite know which alex was going to show up

prejudices are what fools use for reason
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Lord_Phat View Post
that pretty much summarises the selection of his results, and you never quite know which alex was going to show up
yea bingo, one day on fire and untouchable, the next languising in 15th.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
If the guy in the factory wants to do something to your bike, using Bluetooth they just change it and you can do nothing about it
I didn't know that they treated the satellite teams like that? damn


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2008, 12:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by valerossi View Post
You see why I don't trust Ducati in racing.
But the question is... Wether Ducati is the only team doing that?
Honda leases engines, but do you have free will over it?

We all know that all the teams have preferred seats on who gets factory support 1st... but what do we know of what trickles down if at all?

Point is... may not just be Ducati that forces their leases to wait for factory upgrades.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2008, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valerossi View Post
You see why I don't trust Ducati in racing.
Dude, the factory team is never going to slow the bike down to make it easier for their factory riders to win. the quote was in reference to how they govern the development of the bikes , it is the same for honda and has always been . I don't know why he said it wasnt like that in the past because even when honda had the two stroke the lease engines were not allowed to be messed with by the satellite teams or even the kr type teams. It is very important to Ducati that someone else wins on the bike asap. anyhow the trickle down effect is always going to lessen the punch of the satellite teams.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2008, 02:53 PM
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Nahhh. Of course the engineers/techs of the teams in the two stroke era could "mess" with the engines as that is the only way you can get them to run properly. You have to do that and that was possible to do track side with the two strokes.
Wit the new four stroke era the engines are only tuned by the data guys and the engines is only checked as a pre caution - if out of order they change to another engine.


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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by racerraul View Post
But the question is... Wether Ducati is the only team doing that?
Honda leases engines, but do you have free will over it?

We all know that all the teams have preferred seats on who gets factory support 1st... but what do we know of what trickles down if at all?

Point is... may not just be Ducati that forces their leases to wait for factory upgrades.
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Dude, the factory team is never going to slow the bike down to make it easier for their factory riders to win. the quote was in reference to how they govern the development of the bikes , it is the same for honda and has always been . I don't know why he said it wasnt like that in the past because even when honda had the two stroke the lease engines were not allowed to be messed with by the satellite teams or even the kr type teams. It is very important to Ducati that someone else wins on the bike asap. anyhow the trickle down effect is always going to lessen the punch of the satellite teams.
You guys are right about the other factories are most likely doing the same. However, remember how Suppo gave Barros shit when he passed Stoner on the straight and ordered him to never do it again? I didn't see Honda gives the satellite boys shit when they beat the factory boys. If they did, I'm sure Barros would have said it too. I know all the factories are playing pretty much the same game, but it seems like Ducati is just more obvious about it.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2008, 03:19 PM
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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^ Maybe you just never heard about it
Maybe you're right...
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 09:47 AM
 
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I agree... I don't recall Honda ever saying to a Sat team, get your bikes out of our way... Barros has a right to bitch,,, let em race... you get beat by a sat team\rader a re-org might be more prudent but only if it happend with consistency and done @ the end of the season.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valerossi View Post
You guys are right about the other factories are most likely doing the same. However, remember how Suppo gave Barros shit when he passed Stoner on the straight and ordered him to never do it again? I didn't see Honda gives the satellite boys shit when they beat the factory boys. If they did, I'm sure Barros would have said it too. I know all the factories are playing pretty much the same game, but it seems like Ducati is just more obvious about it.
you are right too in that it would be wrong for ducati to say anything about Barros passing stoner.
I do remember Honda lease agreement for engines in the two stroke era being about 1.2million and the engines were not to be altered(or opened) in any way I think it was like a exchange program. Now honda is in some la la state of not wanting to win, but when they went to four stroke's it made the challenge of keeping the secrets so impossible I think they would be less likely to lease a motor to anyone. satellite teams are restricted for the same reasons imo . I would be very unimpressed if the reason for the blue-tooth type tuning was to slow down the non-factory bikes, but anything is possible.

David
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