Alvaro Bautista expects Rizla Suzuki to improve on Saturday after a solid start to the Japanese Grand Prix weekend at Motegi. The Spaniard finished this afternoon's session in 11th place but a gear selection problem on the GSV-R indicates that there is more to come yet.
Bautista admits tomorrow morning's final practice session is all important as he looks to improve the set-up while also deciding on a tyre choice for Sunday's race.
“We tested a different setting this morning and compared it against the one from Aragon. We used the new set-up in the bike with the new swinging-arm and it was definitely better. This afternoon we tried the harder option tyres, because although the softer ones were not too bad this morning, I still had a bit of movement entering the corners. This track has a lot of hard braking and the harder front tyre is much better for that because it gives me more stability. We still don't know which compound we will use for the race, so we have to test a bit more tomorrow and it will also depend on the temperature on race-day. At the end I got into a fairly good rhythm, but I still don't feel 100% with the bike. I had a little gear-shift problem and this made judging the braking points quite difficult, and I had a lot of movement because I was moving my whole body to change down a gear. We improved at the end, but not enough and I think that we can make some big steps tomorrow. With some hard work we can make the bike perform better and improve our lap-time.”
Despite finishing 1.307s off the pace, Team Manager Paul Denning is comfortable with the position Suzuki find themselves in and is looking forward to qualifying.
“We didn't get up to speed as quickly as we would have liked to here in Motegi. Ãlvaro has had a number of small restrictions that have held him back, but on the positive side his best lap-time wasn't faster than his regular rhythm and was very repeatable. By the end of FP2 the gap to the top-six had reduced to a level which will hopefully allow us to make in-roads during tomorrow and the team will improve the bike overnight.”
“After much debate – which in the end I am glad we as Rizla Suzuki stayed away from – it's a pleasure to be back in Motegi and find the circuit and the Japanese fans so welcoming to the MotoGP circus!”