Alvaro Bautista believes Rizla Suzuki are now in a position to challenge for top six results on outright pace after another strong showing in the United States. Although Bautista crashed in both qualifying and the race, the GSV-R continued to match the pace of the works Ducatis, and the Spaniard added that it felt stronger than at any stage this year.
“I am very, very disappointed after today and really frustrated because although we did a really good job all weekend, we didn't get the result we deserved and I crashed. We tried many different things here this weekend and used a completely different setting to last year and we managed to get the same good feeling as we had in Germany. This is the best I have felt on a bike in my MotoGP career so I know things are moving in the right direction.”
“I think we made a mistake on Friday and Saturday, because we didn't try the soft front tyre in the afternoons. I think the hard tyre here wasn't too bad, but it didn't give me the feeling I wanted in the corners – the grip wasn't too bad, but it just didn't transmit enough information. For the race I started with a hard front and I now think it was a mistake not to use a soft one. I got a good start, but some riders closed up in front of me and I couldn't get past, but I did make up one place on the first lap.”
After battling up to eighth from 12th on the grid, Bautista was looking good for another top-ten finish before losing the front end of the bike on lap 14.
“I overtook some other guys and got behind the Ducati's, but I was a bit far away and had to catch them up. My rhythm was really good and I had a lot of confidence in the bike, but I lost the front without any reason and crashed. I had entered that corner at the same speed and in the same place in previous laps so I don't know what happened.”
“I am happy with the work we did this weekend and pleased with my level on the bike. Before the crash I was fighting for sixth or seventh and I know we can be there now and we have to keep working at this level and higher in the next races. We now have some time to relax and charge our batteries, so we can be full gas for Brno.”
Team Manager Paul Denning also felt there were a lot of positives to take from the weekend, and is eagerly anticipating the second half of the season, which starts at Brno in three weeks time.
“I am really disappointed today for everyone at Suzuki, Rizla, the team itself and of course for Ãlvaro. Starting from 12th was never going to make the job easy, but a very aggressive first couple of laps, and then settling in to a good rhythm saw him right back in the fight and another entertaining duel with the Factory Ducati's was on the cards. Equally, once the race settled down, our lap-times were not so different from Dovizioso and Spies battling for fourth, so despite today's' disappointment there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend at Laguna Seca. We'll be arriving in Brno with two riders and looking to keep the positive momentum going!”