Alvaro Bautista is in confident mood ahead of tomorrow's San Marino Grand Prix after achieving his best grid slot of the year at Misano. The Spaniard took the GSV-R to eighth place despite encountering traffic on his final run, costing him time.
Bautista knows a good start is crucial on a circuit difficult to overtake on and is looking to latch onto the back of the leading group in tomorrow's race.
“This morning we made some changes to the gearbox, but after the practice we switched back to the settings from yesterday. In the qualifying, I started with the harder tyre in the hot conditions to see if it worked well. It was not too bad and I was riding at 1:35.0 on most laps, but the exit from the corner with hard gas caused me to slide and go wide. We changed to the softer rear we had been using in the morning and I had a good feeling with that compound, and could ride mid 34s all the time.”
“At the end I couldn't make a best lap because there was a bit of traffic and some slower riders that I couldn't get past, so I lost the chance to make a good lap-time. I think we have a good set-up for tomorrow and the grid position is even better than last week, so if I get a good start I think I can push right up there. I want to stay with the front guys for the maximum amount of time as possible and make a race and get a result like Indy – or even better!”
Rizla Suzuki Team Manager Paul Denning felt that Bautista could have set a time good enough for the second row had he not been held up but is confident that they will be able to show their pace tomorrow.
“It's strange that Misano has seen our best qualifying result of the year so far, but in-fact we are a bit disappointed by the result. Ãlvaro made a steady rhythm at 35.0 with the hard rear tyre and then we compared it to the soft rear tyre from this morning, and he immediately made his qualifying time of 34.3, which at the time was good for fourth. Having put on fresh tyres we were all hoping – Ãlvaro included – that a 33 something was possible, but a combination of traffic and a couple of errors took the chance away. We still need to improve the qualifying performance, but it is getting better and as always the points are in the Grand Prix tomorrow. We're looking forward to the race!”
The team will also run in a special one-off livery in tomorrow's race as part of a promotion involving title sponsor Rizla. The chrome look, designed by Troy Lee Designs will be on view in the pitlane tomorrow morning before Bautista takes it for 28 laps around the Misano circuit at 1pm UK time.