Trackside Tuesday: Patience is a Virtue

06/27/2012 @ 10:44 am, by Scott Jones6 COMMENTS

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 blogTwitter, & 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

  • @DaveMinella

    I always love to read news about my heterosexual man-crush, Alvaro Bautista. I couldn’t be happier that he finally has a competitive machine and is dicing it up towards the front where he belongs.
    Rock on, Bati!

  • Jonathan

    Being a Brit I shouldn’t want Alvaro to be stealin’ points from Cal, but it was great to see him bring home a bit of bacon at Silverstone. He’s had a couple of lacklustre seasons on an uncompetitive bike prior to this one, but ironically he was just starting to look good when Suzuki pulled the plug (and it’s hard to look good in turquoise!) The tragic manner in which the Gresini seat became available must bring pressures of it’s own too, as do the dominance of Tech 3 so far in the “best of the rest” table.

    It just goes to show that nice guys don’t finish last! And how does he keep is hair looking so good?

  • Glad to see you noticed this one, Dave–I’d have emailed you otherwise as I know Alvaro is your guy.

    @Jonathan–The strength of the Suzuki at the end of last season certainly thickens the irony of Bautista’s situation. Leave it to Suzuki to make a brilliant road bike and finally come back to form with their MotoGP machine just as the formula ends. Still, I’m glad that Bautista’s fate is no longer tied to Suzuki and their uncertain future in the premiere class. He now has a solid bike and an opportunity to show what he can do. Cal can take the competition from below, as he has his sights set firmly at the top.

  • Westward

    He is on factory metal, I expected more. Hopefully he will be a regular at the front. Bautista, Dovizioso, and Crutchlow have only themselves to blame this season. Add to that list Spies as well…

  • Frenchie

    @Westward: of your 4 riders list, there’s only one on factory equipment.

    Dovi and Crutchlow will never get factory-spec at Tech3, they’re always 1 or 2 steps down in engine and chassis.
    Bautista is on the first chassis HRC developed for 2012 (and it’s not going to be updated) and also the only bike equipped with Showa suspensions and Nissin brakes.

    These guys are no aliens but (except for Spies) they are doing a really respectable job on the slighlty less competitive equipment made available to them.

    Dovi scoring a podium after barely 6 weekends on a (satellite) Yamaha exceeds expectations (how often do we see satellite bikes on the podium?) and Bautista was merely one second and a half from his first podium (again, new bike it’s his 6th race on a Honda).
    No need to mention Cal or Spies, it’s been debated all over the web.

    Of these 4, Spies is the only one that disappointed, he’s on the same bike as Lorenzo, and can do much better than he’s been doing this season so far.
    The other guys can only regularly battle for 4th place (which means finishing in front of at least one official Honda or Yamaha rider) and the odd podium on satellite bike requires some serious skills!

  • @Frenchie: You absolutely nailed it. Nicely stated!