Alvaro Bautista is confident that the Rizla Suzuki team are closing in on the front runners after another encouraging performance in the Czech Grand Prix. The Spaniard failed to finish after a crash six laps from home but was running at the tail of a group that was battling for second, a fact that gave him cause for optimism.

“I have a strange feeling because I am frustrated that I didn't finish after crashing, but I am also quite happy because I did all that was possible to stay with the front group. I was riding just a few seconds behind second position and, after starting from the back of the grid, I was pleased about that. I made a good start and got past some riders in the first few corners and before long I was behind the quick group. After that I pushed to my maximum – I was on the limit, but everything was under control – and then with six laps to go I crashed. I lost the front and it was strange because I entered the corner like the lap before and felt nothing wrong.”

With John Hopkins suffering multiple fractures to his right hand, Bautista's retirement completed a nightmare weekend for the team and the 26 year old was sad that he couldn't reward them for their efforts.

“I want to say thank-you to all the team and the sponsors for their confidence and support. I also want to say sorry because it has been a difficult weekend for everybody; we started with two bikes and only had one in the race and none at the end. We expected a good result here, but at the end we are very disappointed with what happened. We need to keep working well in the next few races, we have a good race pace and rhythm, but we need to improve in qualifying because starting from the back means I have to give more effort at the start to catch the front group. I think if we start nearer the front we can stay with the group a lot easier, and the results will come.”