One of the great things about the support classes in Grand Prix motorbike racing is the depth of the competition. While there are a handful of favorites in each class, we generally don’t have the Three Alien situation of MotoGP. Once a rider leaves that broader talent and equipment pool for the premier class however, his potential results are limited by the bike he lands on.
Alvaro Bautista paid his dues for two years on an 800cc Suzuki, finishing in lucky thirteenth spot for both the 2010 and 2011 championships. If Suzuki hadn’t folded up and gone home for 2012, Bautista might still have been on an uncompetitive bike with a crowd of fans who could only think fondly back to what an exciting 125cc and 250cc rider he had been.
But 2012 has Bautista on a Honda, and while the former 125cc World Champion is not yet fighting for wins as he did in the smaller classes, at Silverstone he provided us with the feel good moment of the weekend by claiming his first MotoGP Pole Position. There may have been a few hard souls who begrudged this result but the rest of us were elated for one of the nicest riders in the paddock.
Bautista couldn’t hold on to a podium spot and finished fourth in the race, in itself a fine result after two years in Rizla Blue. I’d love to see him join the Tech 3 battle for Best of the Rest on a regular basis, and perhaps his near-podium at the British GP will be the confidence builder he needs to do so. As the saying goes, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Scott Jones is a professional photographer who covers MotoGP and WSBK for racing industry clients as well as racing websites and publications in the U.S. and Europe. His online archive is available at Photo.GP, and you can find him on his blog, Twitter, & Facebook.
All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.
Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved