The Barros Change due to tai chi?

10 JUN 00 - MotoGP News

As Alex Barros nails down the second pole position of his career, and the second in a row, everyone in the paddock wonders from where the suddenly strong challenge has come. After all, the Brazilian has been racing 500s since 1990 and has shown an inconsistent ability to run up front, but a consistent ability to finish races. In his 10-year career, Barros has over 100 finishes and since 1993 has never finished worse than ninth in the championship points.
But in all those years of trying, the amicable Alex has only a single win (Jarama in 1993) and until the new millennium, had never been the quickest qualifier.

It's clear that Barros has talent, but recently the Brazilian made a significant lifestyle change and hired world-class tai chi instructor Rudolfo Hernandez from Venezuela to train him. Alex had already moved his family to Spain for the season, but stepping up to a new training level seems to be the change he needed. Initially, Barros felt he wouldn't be able to fit the training into his already crowded schedule because Hernandez demanded a lot of time and attention, but Alex made it work and the results are beginning to show.

A big part of martial arts is mental, and so is a big part of motorcycle racing. It's about confidence, concentration and focusing on a result while training to achieve that result. Racing a 500 for 50 minutes on Sunday, or practicing on it for two hours on Friday and Saturday tests everything from muscle strength to cardiovascular fitness to total concentration. With Hernandez in his corner, Barros looks set to capitalize on the promising talent we've seen for so many years.