The San Carlo Honda Gresini team had a mixed start to the 2012 MotoGP season after their riders had very different days in Qatar. Alvaro Bautista was seventh fastest on the Honda RC213V and suffered from the same chatter problems that affected the two factory riders, leaving him concentrated on making a step forward tomorrow.
“The 2012 season is finally underway on a track that always has grip problems in the first session. We have tried to work to find a good feeling for the bike but I had some problems in corner entry with a little front end chatter that prevented me from being able to push. We used the same hard rear tyre for the whole session and with the track in these conditions that gave us a lot of spinning that made it difficult to get on the gas, so tomorrow we will work with the electronics and the chassis geometry and try to improve my overall confidence with the bike.”
Teammate Michele Pirro was 15th on the FTR-Honda which will run to CRT regulations. The Italian was only three tenths behind Randy de Puniet on the quickest CRT bike which was a pleasant surprise to the debutant.
“The first day hasn’t gone bad at all, we have tried to get as many laps in as possible to get confident with this bike at this track, having never ridden it here before. We continued the work we started at Jerez and made gradual progress. I have great confidence in the team and I am more and more certain that we will get more competitive as the season progresses. Unfortunately the bike is still very young, with only a few hundred kilometres on the clock, so like everything it will need time. I have the right people around me though and I will try to improve in every session. I didn’t expect to be just three tenths behind De Puniet, who is an experienced rider on a competitive CRT bike, so that’s a nice start for me and my guys.”
Team Manager Fausto Gresini was pretty happy with the way the day had panned out and saved particular praise for Pirro after his impressive display.
“The first session hasn’t gone badly. Bautista’s race pace is not far off the top guys and we still haven’t used the soft tyre so I’m pretty satisfied. We are working towards the race and we have some ideas that should help Alvaro gain confidence with the bike. Pirro’s performance was a nice surprise, with just three tenths separating him from the best of the CRT bikes, which is incredible considering how new our bike is. Overall a positive start.”