Alvaro Bautista feels he is finally back to his best after finishing fifth in today's rain-affected British Grand Prix at Silverstone, his best result since returning from injury.
The Rizla Suzuki rider stayed out of trouble while others, including the World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, failed to finish as the torrential conditions caught out the world's finest motorcycle racers.
Bautista admitted that he felt pretty comfortable with the difficult conditions and was encouraged to have split the factory Ducatis having matched them on pace.
“In the wet warm-up I felt very strong and had good feedback from the whole package, so I was feeling confident for this afternoon. In the race it was important to make a good start, I did that and I think I was maybe fifth or sixth, but it was difficult to see because I was splashed a lot by other riders and I couldn't see too much and had to drop back a bit. I tried to get into a good rhythm and as the race wore on I started to ride more comfortably. I saw that a couple of riders crashed due to all the water that was making it very difficult, but I just carried on and did my own thing. I had to have lots of feeling with the brakes and the gas because it was really very difficult conditions and towards the end I saw that Valentino was trying to catch me. I pushed a bit more and started to close on Nicky, but he responded and kept the gap, but by then I had increased on Valentino and I then just wanted to finish.”
The Spaniard has been working his way back to full fitness since injuring his left femur in Qatar but feels he is finally able to ride to his full potential now, and believes he proved that today.
“For sure I am very happy today, because we have been able to finish the weekend with a great result. I have to say thank-you to my team, they have so much passion for what they do and have helped me get back to my maximum level. With all their help, this has been the first race that I have been able to feel competitive since the injury and I was nearer my limit than I have been all season – so a really big thanks to all of them!”
“Fifth is a good result and now I'm looking forward to getting to the next race and have the same level of confidence and feeling – if not even better!”
Team manager Paul Denning agreed with his rider and expects the upturn in form to continue at Assen in two weeks time.
“Ãlvaro did a good job today, and so did the whole team to give him a bike to provide him with the confidence to push in today's horrendous conditions. He was careful on the first few laps, where it was so easy to make a mistake, as there was a lot more standing water than in the practice and this morning's warm-up. Once he found his rhythm his pace and consistency were both excellent and he had the right balance between speed and an accident! It's been a tough start to the season, but now we are starting to see the potential that Ãlvaro was showing before his accident and we are looking forward to the next race at Assen, where we are sure he will be even stronger.”