Rizla Suzuki’s Spanish racer Álvaro Bautista has a lot of work to do at the start of tomorrow’s Aragon Grand Prix in Spain after qualifying 11th this afternoon.
Bautista (1’49.883, 26 laps) will start from the middle of the fourth row after he was unable to capitalise on the promise that he showed in the early stages of this afternoon’s qualifying session. He had been as high as fourth in the classification with about a quarter of the session left, but was unable to maintain that position and will now have to make a good start tomorrow to get up amongst the front pack in the early part of the race.
Today’s qualifying was held in mixed weather conditions, from bright sunshine to overcast and humid, with track temperatures reaching 41ºC. Current World Championship leader Casey Stoner recorded his ninth pole position of the season, a feat that equals the record of the most poles in a season by an individual rider in the current MotoGP four-stroke era – currently held by Stoner in 2008 and Valentino Rossi in 2003.
Tomorrow’s race is the 14th round on the 2011 calendar and the 23-laps of action will get underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
“I am not happy with the position because we are too far back, but all the lap-times are very close and I am only just over three tenths from the second row, so that shows how close it is. I did a lot of laps on the harder tyre and after I had done a race distance it started to slide a little bit, but I think this was the same for most of the riders. At the end with the softer tyre I improved my lap-time, but I made a mistake on the last two laps and couldn’t improve enough to get a better position on the grid. Tomorrow I will try to make a good start and get past as many riders as possible in the first laps. I think if I can get a good start and stay with the second group – Stoner and Pedrosa are very strong and will probably pull away – then I think I can battle with that group. I will push to the limit to get a good position and fight all the way tomorrow!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Eleventh is below our expectation and also below the potential of the bike and rider package, and we still need to find a little bit of an extra spark in qualifying to get up towards the second row. That all said, we’ve had some of our best races from the fourth row of the grid and tomorrow is going to be a big challenge for all the riders to maintain a consistent rhythm over race distance. I think we are in good shape to put in a strong performance and improve dramatically over the qualifying result in tomorrow’s race.”