The first Grand Prix in Spain since 2011 could come at a crucial time for the country’s leading motocross racer as Silver Action Team’s Jose Butron prepares for race day at his home GP.
It has started well for him, finishing fifth in qualifying, his best Saturday since Trentino.
The Spanish pilot will be hoping that Talavera de la Reina – a circuit where he has raced since a child and where recently he won a round of the Spanish Championship – will help him turn around a disappointing final MX2 season.
Butron had accrued four podium finishes by this stage – round seven – of the 2013 campaign. It was a streak of results that helped secure the factory KTM 250SX-F engine that he now runs and a contract that will see him in orange (or maybe the white of Husqvarna) when he is forced to move into the MXGP class for 2015.
This year however Butron has failed to ignite the category where he finished third overall last year; the best championship slot ever for a Spaniard in MX2 and highest since 2002 (when Javier Garcia Vico made an impression in the 500cc division).
The rider from Seville knows he is fighting a mental battle. “I trained really hard this winter. My condition is better, the bike is better and I have better material. I’m not sure what is going on,” he revealed. “That crash in the second moto in Qatar with Covington robbed me of a podium and I didn’t make it the next week in Thailand or Brazil and I think psychologically that hit me a little bit.
“I lost some motivation and now I am fighting as much as I can to regain that and get back to the same as last year. I’m clear that it is all in my head because I am fit and the bike is working well. I’m just missing a bit of confidence.”
Viewed as a confidence rider, Butron has to juggle two elements today. He has knowledge of the track and the way it changes which gives him a head start over every other athlete in the MX2 class. “Since my first appearance in the Spanish Championship – I’m now 23 – I have ten years of experience racing at Talavera! Twice a season racing there,” he said.
“I think the club do a good job and they are organised. The riders will like the track. It is not hard-pack but it is not sand; it is a bit in the middle. I know it like the back of my hand and this will be important because the practice sessions are shorter now and there is not much time to learn new circuits. I think I might have a small advantage. We will see.”
However he will also come under the spotlight, and will have to deal with the expectation that brings. “I don’t want to keep thinking of ‘podium, podium, podium’ in front the fans because that adds to the pressure,” he claims. “I want to go into the race almost as if it was a Spanish Championship, like it was a month ago!”
Currently 10th in the MX2 standings Butron clearly needs a jolt into action and into some better results. His trademark fast starts have been present but he has been going backwards in the motos.
He knows what is the key to solving the issue and need to act fast in order to ensure a positive landing in MXGP for 2015. “Having a works bike means it is faster and tires you out more,” he explains. “You have to adapt. Last year I had a kitted bike that wasn’t as quick but then I did not find it as demanding. I know my KTM now is one of the best in the gate, just like Herlings. I need to change my riding a little bit or my physical preparation… it is not the bike.