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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 321 December 2016 > ONE UP, ONE DOWN...


Much like life in general, motorcycle sport can be cruel. When one guy is hitting the highs, there's another nose-diving toward the lows. We meet two MotoGP stars on opposing trajectories, Señors Maverick Vinales of Suzuki and Aprilia's Alvaro Bautista...
I love MotoGP, I love Suzuki, I love Silverstone!, Cava has never tasted sweeter for Maverick Vinales ...

Just think for a moment about the sheer numbers of racers who have been involved in world level motorcycle sport since it began that never found the success they craved. It must be a huge figure. When it comes to the very top tier, in this case MotoGP, the field has always been crammed with champions from other disciplines, Grand Prix or otherwise, but the vast majority never win a championship, a race, or even manage a podium finish.

Then there are those who come so very close, who showed promise on their rise, winning races and titles only to fall at the final hurdle. The reasons for their downfall are many, though most come from simply not having the machinery beneath them to truly show their potential. They spend years trying to get to that top level, but when they get there they find that all the best bikes are taken ­ and are unlikely to be relinquished. Despite strong showings, the slide back down the ranks in the wrong direction is inevitable for all but the very few.

You try your heart out and end up at the bottom of the sheets... Sometimes MotoGP sucks

Alvaro Bautista is one such racer, a man who found great success in the lower Grand Prix classes. A 125cc world champion and a runner-up in the 250cc class, he had all the attributes and speed to be a big hitter in MotoGP, which he joined in 2010. But it wasn't to happen for him, as even though he slotted directly into a factory team it was with Suzuki, who at that time had one eye on the exit door. Add in a spate of injuries and crashes and he wasn't able to show his best. A move to the Gresini team on a semi-factory Honda was promising, including a pole position at Silverstone, but yet again not being in that top Honda squad was always going to curb his potential until finally Gresini switched to Aprilia, which is where he has found himself ever since.

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