MotoGP 2017 preview: Avintia Ducati

Last year, Avintia exceeded all expectations, almost entirely down to the phenomenal work of Hector Barbera. This year, they get a reward of sorts. I’ll explain below.

The bike

pa1653185-0008

As with Pramac, there are two variants to Avintia’s group this year. Hector Barbera, on the back of a superb showing last year, gets a 2016 Desmosedici – the same bike Scott Redding will be riding. His team-mate, Loris Baz, will be on the 2015 version. Below are the specs for the GP16.

Name Ducati Desmosedici GP 16
Engine 1000cc inline four cylinder
Power >245bhp
Chassis Aluminium alloy twin-spar
Transmission DST-Evo chain final drive
Brakes Brembo, 2x340mm front, 2×4-piston callipers. Single disc rear with twin-piston calliper

The riders

Out
In

barbera

8 – Hector Barbera
Age 30 Born Dos Aguas, Spain
Honours None
2016 10th, 102pts, Avintia/Ducati
Race Record
Class Races Wins Podiums Points Best
125CC 47 6 12 416 2nd, 2004
250CC 75 4 20 830 2nd, 2009
MotoGP 121 0 0 451 10th, 2016

Barbera has always been a steady hand. His lack of podiums in MotoGP is glaring, but 2016 was the year the Spaniard finally got to grips with the field.

A superb fourth in Malaysia eclipsed the two 5th-placed finishes he’d already gathered, an incredible feat when you consider he was riding a two-year-old Ducati in a field full of new bikes, with new technical stuff that had been introduced the year after the bike had been made.

At the age of 30, he’s the wrong side of being a promising youngster, but Barbera will want to build on last year, and with a relatively newer bike to the one he rode last year, there’s every chance he can outperform himself.

baz

76 – Loris Baz
Age 23 Born Sallanches, France
Honours None
2016 20th, 35pts, Avintia
Race Record
Class Races Wins Podiums Points Best
BSB 21 0 0 125 14th, 2011
Superstock 1000 24 0 2 165 8th, x2
WSBK 61 2 14 613 5th, 2014
MotoGP 31 0 0 63 17th, 2015

Loris Baz is an odd case. He never had much of a pedigree throughout his time in the varies superbike series, yet he went straight to MotoGP. These days, he’s mostly just there. He usually just hangs around at the bottom end of the point scoring places. He’s not even that reliable for staying on the machine – falling off seven times in his two years in the championship.

That said, he has a knack for also doing some ridiculous things. He has one fourth-placed finish, and two fifths. How, exactly, I’m not sure. It makes him more frustrating though – you know the talent is there, but he doesn’t show it often enough.

The team battle

Well Barbera is the better rider, on the better, newer bike, so it’s pretty obvious where I’m going with this.

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