TT Circuit Assen
Tough qualifying sees Bautista with work to do
Rizla Motos Álvaro Bautista will start Saturday’s Dutch TT from the fifth row of the grid after qualifying in 14th place at Assen today.
Bautista (1’36.820, 29 laps) struggled to get the grip he was looking for from his Suzuki GSV-R around the 4,542m Dutch circuit, especially through the fast left-handers towards the end of the lap. He worked with his crew to find a solution, both during this morning’s extended practice session and in this afternoon’s qualifying. He did make steps throughout the qualifying session and improved his time by over two seconds from his morning’s best, but was still disappointed with the day’s events.
This afternoon’s qualifying was held with the constant threat of rain from the dark clouds overhead, fortunately it stayed dry - but quite cool - for the whole hour. Honda’s Marco Simoncelli took his second pole position of the season.
Tomorrow’s Grand Prix is the only Saturday race on the calendar and the main event is scheduled to get underway at 15.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT), but with rain still possible it could turn into an interesting race for all concerned.
“I’m not happy with today at all! I have had a rear grip problem all day, especially entering the left corners - but really over the whole track. We worked hard to get the bike more grip, but still I struggled and this affected my confidence because I couldn’t enter the corners like I want. This was causing me to lose too much speed on the entry and then gave me problems in the exit. I don’t feel very comfortable on the bike and we’re going to try something in tomorrow’s warm-up, to give me a better feeling. It has been a difficult weekend so far and losing the practice yesterday was tough because I think if we had had that it might have helped us to find a solution. We have a chance to try something tomorrow morning, but we also have to watch the weather because it looks like it could be wet. We certainly need to do something to resolve this grip issue, because I thought we would move forward at this race after the result in Silverstone and I really wanted to do well here.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The good news is that we went 2.2 seconds quicker this afternoon than this morning, but the bad news is that everyone else went quicker as well so it didn’t improve our overall situation. Our level has been disappointing this weekend, Álvaro has no physical complaints and we’re only looking to move forward, but we just haven’t been able to produce the temperature in the left-hand-side of the tyre to give Álvaro the confidence he needs – especially towards the end of the lap. The guys will be working hard to find some more solutions overnight, but the biggest help to us right now would be warmer weather and bright sunshine tomorrow, so that we can get the rear tyre working properly.”
by: rizla suzuki