San Carlo Honda Gresini
Positive first day at Estoril for Álvaro Bautista
Álvaro Bautista today made a positive start to the Grand Prix of Portugal, an event he considers his fifth 'home' race with the Estoril circuit located just 500 kilometres from his hometown of Talavera de la Reina.
The Spaniard made the most of limited lap time on a damp track this morning to get comfortable with his machine before closing the gap to the top riders in the afternoon and finishing sixth fastest overall. Michele Pirro struggled, meanwhile, to make headway on the CRT bike at a difficult circuit.
Alvaro Bautista (6th 1’ 38" 959)
"The track this morning was like Jerez and I was worried that we might be in for the same kind of weekend but thankfully this afternoon we managed to get some dry track time in, even though there were some wet patches out there like in the final turn. We tried two different settings to give ourselves a good base to work from tomorrow and it was positive. Now we have some reference points to start work from in terms of trying to improve my control over the rear of the bike in corner entry. We have some things to try with the suspension and I think we'll be able to improve rear grip tomorrow."
Michele Pirro (17th 1’ 42" 252)
"After the session this morning I was looking forward to a good afternoon but I struggled to get comfortable on the bike. I'm struggling to control it and get on the gas. I've spoken to my guys and I am sure that sooner or later we'll be able to get on top of it and come through this difficult moment. We have worked out a new plan of action that we will start with tomorrow."
Fausto Gresini, Team Owner
"Alvaro's pace was up there with the best today. His confidence with the bike is good although he could do with a little more in corner entry, especially on the rear. We will check the data and I am sure we will be ready for tomorrow but the important thing right now is that he feels more and more comfortable with the Honda RC213V every time he goes out on track. Things didn't go great with the CRT and we seem to be having the same problems but the bike is young and we need some test time with it. It's always very difficult to develop during a GP weekend."