Hector Barbera has yet to replicate the form he showed early in his career in MotoGP, but the Spaniard is confident his time is coming. He caught up with Oriol Puigdemont ahead of the Qatar season opener.
If there's someone who arrives better prepared than ever for the start of the new season, that's Hector Barbera - who this winter, and without making any noise, has been in the top 10 in almost every test, waiting to become one of those riders who surprises his rivals in the first races of the championship.
At 29, the Avintia rider has a unique chance to fight back and show that he is still as good now in MotoGP as he was when he was younger, and fought side-by-side with the likes of Dani Pedrosa.
This is probably his last chance to get noticed and to be on the radar of one of the big teams, and that is something that he is well aware of.
Barbera has enjoyed a perfect pre-season despite having just one bike. He has been very fast and has not crashed until the final day, something that his engineers have welcomed in order to continue making progress, both with the electronics as well as with the Michelin tyres.
At Sepang, the combined timesheets after three days of testing put him third, eight tenths behind the quickest rider (Jorge Lorenzo). At Phillip Island he finished fifth, just two tenths off the best time (set by Maverick Vinales), while in Qatar he was ninth, nine tenths behind Lorenzo's super lap.
"Everything has gone very well," the man from Valencia told Motorsport.com. "I've felt very strong, consistent, both with the tyres and the electronics.
"As we don't have much equipment we had to be a bit conservative, but in Qatar we took a step forward and I even went over the limit a bit. Until the final day I had not crashed."
For the reigning Open class champion, the only thing that has not changed this year is the bike. He is still riding the Ducati Desmosedici GP14.2, the prototype the works team used for the final races of 2014.
He has felt a big step forward with the electronics though, after having squeezed everything out of a much simpler specification in the past.
"The electronics are much better than what we had last year, it's a different world," he adds. "On the other hand, our handicap is the bike that we have, because we are not going to get upgrades as it's old."
The Spanish rider, who finished 15th last year, is excited and eager to take the fight to the bigger teams, convinced that everything is in place to do so.
"My motivation is at an all-time high," says Barbera. "It's not the same to ride a bike like the one I have now, which allows me to finish sixth or seventh, than one with which you can't go higher than 15th.
"I've been at the front in 125cc and 250cc, so it wouldn't be strange to do it in MotoGP."