Third row start for Bautista at Motegi Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista will start from the third row of the grid for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix after equalling his season's best qualifying position today. Bautista (P9, 1'48.002, 28 laps)...
Third row start for Bautista at Motegi
Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista will start from the third row of the grid for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix after equalling his season's best qualifying position today.
Bautista (P9, 1'48.002, 28 laps) made steady and solid progression throughout both this morning's final practice session and this afternoon's qualifying. He improved his time, the Suzuki GSV-R and his riding style to get the best out of his machine and himself around the 4'801m Motegi circuit. Bautista's ninth place equals his best qualifying position so far this season, he started from the same place on the grid in Catalunya and went on to secure fifth place in that race.
Loris Capirossi (P10, 1'48.068, 22 laps) signalled his intentions at the start of the qualifying practice this afternoon by posting consecutive fastest times during the early part of the hour to head the leader-board. Unfortunately Capirossi crashed soon afterwards and had to make his way back to the pit-box to mount his other bike and continue with the session. He continued to battle on and improve on his times to leave him heading the fourth row for tomorrow's race.
Today's qualifying produced an exciting session with seven riders swapping places for the top place during the hour -- including both Rizla Suzuki riders -- before Andrea Dovizioso on his Factory Honda secured his first pole position of the season, with reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi in second.
Tomorrow's race is round 14 of the season and the 24-lap main event will get underway at 15.00hrs local time (06.00GMT), with both Suzuki racers aiming to put on a good show in front of some distinguished guests from the factory and the many Suzuki fans at the Japanese marque's home Grand Prix.
"The qualifying was not too bad; because we needed to do a good time to get the best position to make a good start on Sunday and we achieved that -- although we would have liked to be a bit further up the grid. Today we started qualifying with a used tyre from this morning's session and I did a constant rhythm and the feeling was good. We made a small change which didn't work so we went back to this morning's set up and straight away it felt better. I tried to find someone to follow, but it felt like I was alone on the track, so I concentrated on my own riding to make sure I did my best. The position is ok, but I think we can run further towards the front. The weather tomorrow could be wet so it will be important to get a good start and stay with the front group. I feel positive for tomorrow, even if it rains, because we have a good bike for the wet. I will give it full gas and push to the maximum to get a good result for Suzuki in its home Grand Prix."
"I am a little bit upset by my mistake, because I started with the harder tyre and the rhythm was so good and I felt really confident on the bike. I fell off on turn one, there is one big bump there and I hit that and lost the front. I also lost a bit of confidence after that when I jumped on the other bike, I tried to keep my rhythm, but I just didn't have the same feeling with that machine. I struggled with a bit of feeling at the front and I didn't feel I could push as much as I wanted because I didn't want to risk crashing again. The potential for us is good here and the bike is working well -- I am very optimistic for the race and I think we can get a very positive result."
Paul Denning -- Team Manager:
"The guys were fifth and seventh in free practice this morning and we believe -- and hope -- that that is more of an indicator of their race pace. Loris's crash definitely upset his rhythm, in addition to giving him a bit more pain to deal with, and that didn't help when it came to taking the next leap-of-faith to get further up the grid. Alvaro's laps were like clockwork and if he can get off the third row as well as he did in Catalunya, it could be a very interesting race for him tomorrow. We're looking forward to the Grand Prix; it's going to be a very tight race."
-source: rizla suzuki