Alvaro Bautista has apologised to the Rizla Suzuki team after crashing out of fifth place in today's Australian Grand Prix, the second race running in which a possible top six finish has slipped through their fingers.
The Spaniard was running sixth when rain fell five laps from the finish. With flag-to-flag rules applying, Nicky Hayden pitted from fifth but Bautista slid out on the next lap as the slick tyres failed to provide him with the required grip.
Bautista felt he was a helpless victim of the changeable weather but still offered an apology to his team as much needed points slipped away.
“It was a good, but in the end disappointing race for us today. We didn't start so well, but I was with the front group and very close to the podium battle. After a few laps, when the tyres started to lose their grip, I started to fight with Nicky and we lost time to the others. After I got away from Nicky I tried to concentrate to get the most from the used tyre and do my best. I just had to finish the race to get a fifth place, which would have been a good result here. The conditions were difficult though because during the whole race it was raining in some parts of the track and each lap seemed different. In turn 10, I saw some drops of rain on the screen and before I could even think to react I crashed – the surface was very wet and I just couldn't do anything about it!
“I am sorry for the whole team because they did a fantastic job for the whole weekend and we started from the front row for the first time this year. We were in fifth in the race and looking good, so I'm really sorry for the crash – those guys deserved something from this weekend. We now have to look forward to the next race and take all the positives from here to Malaysia and I'm sure we can go well there.”
Team Manager Paul Denning refused to blame his rider and felt he was simply unfortunate to come across the rain when he did.
“There are so many positives to be taken from this weekend at Phillip Island, that it's really unfortunate to be making another 'if only' comment! Ãlvaro had no idea that it was raining that hard and with no rider directly in-front of him it just looked like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time! It's really unfortunate for all of us, but the promise shown by the GSV-R was huge and I think the race-pace potential could have been a lot better if we hadn't have got hung up with Nicky for four or five laps, and allowed the Hondas to escape.
“Malaysia's next, it's been a good track for Suzuki in the past, we've got John Hopkins joining the team and a chance to have another go at a decent result – we're looking forward to it!”