Bautista just misses out on podium finish but secures fifth place in the championship
Alvaro Bautista narrowly missed out on a podium finish to departing champion Casey Stoner after conceding a position with just two laps remaining, but fourth place was enough for him to secure his objective before the start of the race and for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini to finish the campaign on a high.
Morning rain had left the slow-drying track still wet in places, despite the earlier Moto2 and Moto3 races, so there were plenty of deliberation about tyre choice before the start. Some riders chose slicks, others rain tyres. Bautista was one of several riders who started the warm-up lap on rain tyres, then decided to change, rushing into the pits and swapping to their slick-equipped spare bikes. According to the rules they started the race from pit lane, after the main.
The Spaniard worked his way through from 19th on the first lap, riding well in the unforgiving conditions and only losing out on the final podium spot when Casey Stoner passed him with two laps to go.
Alvaro Bautista (4th) “That was definitely the most difficult race of the season. On the warm-up lap I decided to come in and swap the bike for the other one with slick tyres on, because I could see the track was drying. I tried to manage the situation as best I could out there and focus on our objective of making sure of fifth in the championship, but I’m not happy with the performance, because again I had no feeling on the front. But anyway, the season is over now and I am happy with where we have finished and with the progress we have made over the course of the season. Thanks to the team, Fausto Gresini and all the sponsors who have supported us. Now we start looking towards 2013 and I am happy to be with the same team and all the guys who have worked so hard this year. We have a good base to work from and improve next year.”
Fausto Gresini “It was a difficult race and we have suffered a lot! The primary objective was for Alvaro to secure fifth in the championship and we have achieved that. He struggled throughout the race, but he managed the situation well and even though it would have been nice to see him on the podium, there wasn’t much he could do about Stoner. Anyway, mission accomplished and this was a good way to end our first season together.”
Sources: Gresini Racing, Honda Pro Racing