Alvaro Bautista was unable to crown Rizla Suzuki's new-look GSR-V with a top six finish in the San Marino Grand Prix after a poor start left him playing catch up. The Spaniard started from a season-high position of eighth but struggled to stay there in the early stages as he struggled to deal with steady rain.
Once the weather settled, Bautista got into his stride and finished a solid eighth, but he admitted he was expecting a better result from the lofty grid position.
“Maybe this was not the result we expected after qualifying, but I didn't have a lot of confidence on the first lap because it was raining a little bit and I didn't feel like I could push too much – so I lost some positions and distance from the group. When I got into my rhythm the group was far away and I couldn't follow them. Eighth position is not a bad result but we expected more this weekend. We have done a good job during the last few races, but still we have to improve in qualifying to be nearer the front of the grid and make good starts and first laps. Thanks to all the team for this weekend and thanks to Rizla for their support with the new livery. The bike today was looking amazing and I think we all expected more than eighth, but we are confident that we can do better in the next races.”
Team Manager Paul Denning admitted that the recent upturn in form had raised expectations, resulting in their disappointment.
“A couple of months ago we would have been happy with eighth place, but our performance level has increased and today we are a little disappointed with the result. If the conditions had been the same as yesterday afternoon, when the track was 10 degrees warmer I think, there was a chance we could have competed for fourth place, but as it was we were so far behind after a couple of laps that to achieve the real potential was impossible. We have managed to get a decent, solid finish, so it's not all bad!
“We were very happy to help Rizla launch its new 'Micron' product in Italy this weekend and we will now move on to another home race for Ãlvaro at Aragon in two weeks time with a positive attitude.”