Alvaro Bautista complained of a lack of grip during Friday Practice for the United States Grand Prix despite finishing up in seventh place. The Rizla Suzuki rider was the best of the rest behind the factory Yamaha and Honda bikes, as he was in Germany, but wasn't quite as happy with the GSV-R as he was at the Sachsenring.
“This morning the track was very cold so we started with the softer tyres and from the beginning it felt like we didn't have very much grip from the rear when entering a corner. The contact feeling wasn't quite right so we worked on improving that and we also tried some different electronics settings for the spin control. In the second session the track temperatures had increased so we used the harder compound tyres, but we seemed to have the same problem as this morning with corner entry grip. This didn't give me a good feeling and made me slower in the corner and on the exit than I wanted to be. We worked hard to try and resolve it but we didn't quite manage it, so it gives us something to work towards tomorrow.”
More encouragingly though, the Spaniard was happy with his pace, and is hopeful that he can be even closer to the top six if he can perfect his set-up.
“My lap-times and rhythm were not too bad though and I was able to follow some fast guys quite easily, so this is a good sign. I hope that tomorrow we can improve on the rear grip and do some work on the gearbox, because we are not at our maximum here just yet. So we have a lot of work to do on Saturday, but at the moment I am very confident because my feeling is positive like it was last week in Germany.”
Team Manager Paul Denning put Friday down as a positive start to the weekend and believes the gap to the top six should close if they can improve in the final sector of the 3.610km circuit.
“It's been a very solid first day here at Laguna Seca for Ãlvaro and the Rizla Suzuki team. The performance at Sachsenring last weekend has helped his confidence and it's clear that he has brought a slightly different tactic to Friday's sessions to try and be as close to the lead group's pace as he possibly can, as we head to qualifying on Saturday. We're pretty close to the front guys everywhere except for the third section, but if we can find a decent step in lap-time there, and improve the overall rear grip, we should be in good shape for the rest of the weekend.”