Rizla Suzuki Czech GP qualifying report

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Day to forget for Rizla Suzuki at Brno

Alvaro Bautista, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
Alvaro Bautista, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Crescent Suzuki

Rizla Suzuki had its promising start to the weekend shattered at Brno today as firstly John Hopkins had to withdraw from the event and then Álvaro Bautista had a difficult qualifying session to leave him with a mountain to climb in tomorrow’s race.

Bautista will start from the fifth row of the grid after he failed to make a competitive lap-time and will need one of his great starts to be able to challenge with the front-runners in tomorrow’s race. He has a consistent race pace and was able to stay with other riders in the earlier part of the qualifying session, but was unable to put together a fast lap to move him up the grid as the session came to its climax.

Hopkins was forced to withdraw from the weekend’s event following a crash in this morning’s wet practice session. It has now been confirmed that he has broken three fingers on his right hand, but he will remain at Brno to support the team, before returning to America on Monday to have surgery to repair the damage.

Today’s qualifying was held in dry, but overcast conditions with track temperatures reaching 30ºC. Dani Pedrosa took pole position on his Honda, with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo second and current championship leader Casey Stoner third.

Tomorrow’s race is round 11 of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship and the excitement gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Álvaro Bautista: “I am not happy with the qualifying because we just didn’t get our best level today and we will have to start tomorrow near the back of the grid. My rhythm was not too bad when I followed other riders and I could stay with them, but to be able to do that in the race I have to make a good start again tomorrow and fight my way through. I can’t say much more because I am just not happy with how things went today.

“It was not a good day for the whole team with John crashing this morning and breaking his fingers. I feel very sorry for him because he did well yesterday and it looked like he’d have a good race. MotoGP racing is not always what you want it to be and these things happen, but I wish him a speedy recovery and hope he’s back soon.”

John Hopkins: “I guess disappointed is the only word that can sum up how I feel! I must apologise to the whole team for making such a stupid mistake out there this morning. It was the smallest crash under braking in the wet conditions and as I slid along I kept my hand on the ground to try and slow me down, but as soon as I hit the gravel it went in and mangled my hand right up. I’ve fractured three fingers on my right hand. The index and middle finger are just normal fractures that probably wouldn’t have kept me off the bike, but the third finger has separated and split down the middle from the knuckle. It’s not a case of pain, strength or anything like that, it’s simply that I can’t bend the finger or both bones could come through the skin, so it would have been impossible to hold on to the bike.

This is just another small setback in my journey to get back to full time MotoGP.

John Hopkins

“I think things went very well yesterday and I had every intention of being able to make another step forward today. I believe that the GSV-R is every bit capable of a consistent top-six finish and I think it’s a great machine. With the lack of seat time I’ve had, I don’t think that I could have matched the potential of what the bike is capable of doing. I know I didn’t yesterday and I think it still has another second a lap in it. I wish I could have gone out and achieved a good result for all involved and mainly to show Suzuki that they have a really good machine which has great potential.

“This is just another small setback in my journey to get back to full time MotoGP. I’ll stay here the rest of the weekend and give my full support to the team and do whatever I can to express my gratitude to them for giving me this opportunity. This is not the last time you’ll see me at a Grand Prix, I’m still destined to be back here, whether it’s this year or next I don’t know, but I will be back here!”

Paul Denning – Team Manger: “Grand Prix racing isn’t easy and today showed that! Yesterday we were looking very strong with lap-times in the 57s and both riders in the top-10. Today John is in a cast and Álvaro’s qualified 14th and almost half-of-a-second slower than yesterday afternoon. We did have an issue with a vibration at the end of the qualifying, but frankly speaking, we expected a much better time than that earlier in the session when he had a brand new set of tyres. We all know how well he can race, but if we don’t qualify better we won’t be able to improve the race result.”

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Series MOTOGP
Tags bautista, brno, hopkins, rizla, suzuki