Alvaro Bautista is hoping that a strong race pace will help him move forward during the Malaysian Grand Prix after qualifying down in eighth. The Spaniard was optimistic of challenging for a podium after Friday practice but, by his own admission, underperformed on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m not very happy with the position”, he commented, “because all weekend we have been in the top-six and that’s what I expected this afternoon. We have a good rhythm compared to some of the other riders and when I put the first soft rear in the bike to make a fast lap I did it alone and I got up to third position. On the last tyre I tried to follow some riders to try and get some tenths to make sure I got at least on the second row, but I didn't find anybody and also didn't concentrate enough to do a lap by myself. I am happy with my race pace and the feeling from the bike, but I'm not pleased with my position on the grid. Tomorrow will be a hard race because with these conditions it's always difficult here. During practice you can always do one fast lap and come back to the box, but in the race you have to be consistent and go for it for 20 laps. I'll try to make a good start and stay with the group like I did in Phillip Island and see what happens. Today it was possible to be on the second row, but now I need to focus on the race and use all my energy tomorrow to get a good result.”
The team had already entered qualifying with in dejected mood after John Hopkins' withdrawal due to injury and Bautista felt sympathy for his teammate.
“When you have a small problem, sometimes the problem can become big and I think that is what has happened to John. It has been a big disappointment for everyone, because in the Czech Republic and here we should have been two riders, but he has not been able to race at either event. It is very bad luck for him and I wish him a quick recovery and I feel really sorry for his situation.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow's race, Team Manager Paul Denning still feels confident of a good result but admits the early stages will be crucial.
“We didn't reach our potential in qualifying today and that was disappointing. Ãlvaro looked to get in behind one of the fastest guys on his last run, but in hindsight that worked against him. It would probably have been better for him to find some clear track and build his rhythm. That said, the middle of the third row is not a disaster and our race pace looks pretty strong. The GSV-R seems to be quick on its first timed lap, so if we can elbow past the traffic straight away tomorrow, it could be an interesting race.”