Bautista records best qualifying of the year
Álvaro Bautista will start tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix from the third row of the grid after qualifying in eighth place this afternoon at Misano.
Rizla Suzuki’s Spanish racer equalled his best qualifying position in MotoGP so far, at the Misano World Circuit in Italy He went one better than his ninth at Indianapolis last week as he continues to show that the recent potential shown by the Suzuki GSV-R is starting to come to fruition. Bautista’s best time of 1’34.360 from his 29 laps could have been even better, but he got caught in traffic at the end of the session when he was on his final run and was left a bit frustrated that he was unable to climb further up the grid.
Beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine was the order of the day as air temperatures rose to 29ºC. Current championship leader Casey Stoner took pole position, his eighth of the season, with reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo second and Dani Pedrosa in third making up the front row.
Tomorrow’s 28-lap race will not only see Bautista aiming to get in amongst the front runners early on and make a serious attempt at a high-placed finish, but it will also be the first time that the one-off Rizla ‘Micron’ paint-scheme that will adorn the Suzuki GSV-R will be seen and raced. The new livery will be launched tomorrow morning before Bautista takes to the track at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) for the 13th round of the season.
“This morning we made some changes to the gearbox, but after the practice we switched back to the settings from yesterday. In the qualifying I started with the harder tyre in the hot conditions to see if it worked well. It was not too bad and I was riding at 35.0 on most laps, but the exit from the corner with hard gas caused me to slide and go wide. We changed to the softer rear we had been using in the morning and I had a good feeling with that compound, and could ride mid 34s all the time. At the end I couldn’t make a best lap because there was a bit of traffic and some slower riders that I couldn’t get past, so I lost the chance to make a good lap-time. I think we have a good set-up for tomorrow and the grid position is even better than last week, so if I get a good start I think I can push right up there. I want to stay with the front guys for the maximum amount of time as possible and make a race and get a result like Indy – or even better!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It’s strange that Misano has seen our best qualifying result of the year so far, but in-fact we are a bit disappointed by the result. Álvaro made a steady rhythm at 35.0 with the hard rear tyre and then we compared it to the soft rear tyre from this morning, and he immediately made his qualifying time of 34.3, which at the time was good for fourth. Having put on fresh tyres we were all hoping – Álvaro included – that a 33 something was possible, but a combination of traffic and a couple of errors took the chance away. We still need to improve the qualifying performance, but it is getting better and as always the points are in the Grand Prix tomorrow. We’re looking forward to the race!”