Alvaro Bautista was immensely frustrated after a possible podium challenge disappeared within seconds of the start of the Valencian Grand Prix. The Rizla Suzuki rider started fifth but made contact with Andrea Dovizioso, causing him to crash out taking three other riders with him.
“It has been a bad way to end the year, because before the race I was expecting to be fighting for the podium!” said the Spaniard. “In all conditions we had been fast this weekend and I thought we would have a good race today. In the first corner we all arrived together and I was between Andrea and Valentino (Rossi). Unfortunately Andrea hit my front wheel with his rear tyre and I couldn't do anything to save the crash. The worst thing was that I hit three other riders and they crashed as well, I am sorry for them and also sorry for the team and all the fans.”
The 2011 campaign has been a story of unfulfilled potential for Bautista with a crash in Qatar causing him to miss the first two events. Towards the end of the year, the GSV-R emerged as the leading contender behind the factory Hondas and Yamahas and Bautista praised the team for the progress made.
“This year has been very tough, it didn't start very well when I broke my left femur and although we did a good job – especially in the middle of the season when I was totally fit, both mentally and physically – we haven't finished with that many good results. I got more and more confident in the bike as the season went on and the work we have done has been amazing, we have come such a long way. Thanks to Suzuki for all they have done and thanks to my team, they work 100% in all races and I think everybody has been able to see the improvement on the track. Thanks also to everybody that has supported me and Rizla Suzuki in 2011, and now we will have to see what happens for next year.”
Team Manager Paul Denning refused to point blame regarding the first corner crash and was simply thankful that all four riders walked away unharmed.
“The bad weather that seems to have followed MotoGP this year made conditions really tricky at the start of the race, but given that we didn't even make it around the first corner, it didn't make a lot of difference to us! It's obviously a very disappointing way to end the season, but frankly speaking I'm not particularly upset because all four riders involved are ok and we've seen recently how dangerous that type of accident can be – so we can all be very thankful that all the guys escaped unharmed. I don't think the crash was anybody's fault, it was just too many bikes arriving at one bit of tarmac, at differing speeds, on a slippery track – it's racing and it can happen!
The Suzuki squad will stay in Valencia for the post-season test but will only be running an 800cc bike, with all their rivals running the 2012 1000cc machines, and Denning admitted the uncertainty surrounding the team's future still exists.
“Rizla Suzuki and Ãlvaro Bautista didn't achieve the results we could, or should, have done in the latter part of the season, but I hope we've shown a lot of fighting spirit and a huge amount of performance potential. I'd like to thank Ãlvaro and the whole team for their consistent professionalism and enthusiasm. We'll do some testing here at Valencia with the current bike on Tuesday and hope that we will be able to announce some positive news in the near future.”