Bautista confident after productive day of testing despite highspeed crash in final minutes
Álvaro Bautista (P12, 1’56.931,) was one of the busiest riders on track this evening as he completed 63 laps of the 5,380m circuit. He worked his way through an exhaustive test programme to get as much information about the performance of the GSV-R around the Losail track in readiness for next weekend’s race. Bautista also tested new compound front and rear Bridgestone tyres, as well as giving a thorough test to the compounds that he will most probably use in the season opener.
Bautista’s best time today was almost four-tenths-of-a-second faster than last night and he continued to produce consistent laps all evening as he showed decent race pace. Unfortunately his evening came to an early end when he lost the front of his GSV-R at over 250km/h as he braked hard for the final corner. He walked away from the huge crash with some minor scratches and bruises and will be fully fit for the race. Today’s fastest time was set by Casey Stoner on his factory Honda.
Rizla Suzuki will be in race action for the first time this season next weekend, when the curtain-raising Grand Prix gets underway beneath the floodlights at Losail in Qatar on Sunday 20th March.
Álvaro Bautista: “It has been another big workload tonight and we got a lot done again. We tried a different setting to try and get more grip with the rear tyre, because although yesterday wasn’t too bad we still wanted to improve. I tested some new Bridgestone tyres tonight, but they didn’t quite give me the same confidence as the ones we already have, but we still needed to test them so I’m glad I did. At the end I hoped to make a long run with the harder tyres, but it was too late. So instead I put a soft tyre in the rear and a hard in the front to try to make a good lap, but I tried to warm the tyres on the out lap so I could push hard and when I arrived in the last corner I braked very hard and lost the front, so I finished my day before the end of the test! I am happy with the work from the two days because we have a very clear direction for next weekend. We are in a much stronger position than a year ago and I’m looking forward to the race.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Up until the last 10 minutes of these 10 hours of testing, the two nights have been extremely productive for Álvaro and the Rizla Suzuki team. A 250km/h crash is never a good thing and the GSV-R that he was riding won’t see the light of day again, but he is almost completely unmarked – so we can put that one down to good fortune and move on to the race weekend with optimism. The bike’s performed consistently over the two nights, and whilst we haven’t pushed for a qualifying type lap-time, Álvaro’s rhythm over the long runs is quite competitive and we’ve got a good direction to start the Grand Prix weekend.”
Source: Rizla Suzuki MotoGP