Rain intervenes again as bad timing relegates Bautista to back of the grid

 In MotoGP, News

The elements conspired against Álvaro Bautista and the whole MotoGP field today as this afternoon’s qualifying practice fell foul of the weather as sporadic rain again affected the Mugello circuit.

Álvaro Bautista (P14, 1’50.460, 13 laps) had just put a new set of Bridgestone tyres into his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to set about securing a good qualifying position for tomorrow’s race, when large spots of rain started to fall onto the 5,245m Italian circuit. He returned to the pits hoping the shower would blow over, but the rain intensified and scuppered any chance he had of setting a competitive lap-time. Bautista had looked smooth and confident in this morning’s dry practice session and was consistently inside the top-six as he made adjustments to his bike to get it dialled in for tomorrow’s race. Suzuki’s Spanish star will now be looking for a good start on Sunday afternoon to make up for the disappointment of today’s qualifying and he hopes that he will be able to get in amongst the pack and produce a spirited performance in this weekend’s race.

Only half of this afternoon’s hour-long qualifying session produced conditions anywhere near good enough to set a fast lap-time on slick tyres and current championship leader Casey Stoner used that time to good effect to set pole position, his fifth from eight races.

Tomorrow’s 23-lap race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) with Bautista and the rest of the MotoGP field hoping for better conditions to produce a good spectacle for the thousands of fans expected to fill the hillsides around the Tuscan circuit tomorrow.

Álvaro Bautista: “Terrible is the only word I can use to explain what this afternoon was! This morning I had a good session and felt like the bike was working well. We tried a different setting to give me less movement in the corners and we made a good step forward with this. This afternoon though the conditions were horrible because it rained a bit before the start of the session and then it stopped, so I started with a used tyre just to check the track, but maybe I spent too long out there with that. When we put in the new tyres to get a good lap it started raining, so it was difficult to set a fast time. We are near the back of the grid and I will try my best to make a good start tomorrow. I have a nice rhythm from this morning and I have to forget about this afternoon, even though it was important to get a good grid position – that has gone now – and I must try my best in the race and see what happens!”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“We showed good potential this morning with Álvaro inside the top-six for a large part of the session and he was still doing reasonable times right at the end on tyres with race distance already on them. We should have at least been in the low 49s this afternoon with the new tyres – and on the third row at worst – but the timing of our pit-stop to change to new tyres this afternoon couldn’t have been worse as the rain started to increase. Álvaro also couldn’t get the feeling he needed to push harder on the slightly greasy track, so he couldn’t improve his time before the heavy rain fell. It’s been a disappointing afternoon and we are looking for a significant improvement – both in the position and hopefully the weather – in the race tomorrow.”

Source: Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

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