Starting from 14th on the grid, Bautista got a good start and by lap five he had moved up in 10th position. As the race wore on he got involved in a battle with Hector Barbera and Hiroshi Aoyama, which saw the three swap places regularly. Bautista fought to the line, but was just unable to get past Barbera in the closing metres and finished a mere 0.187 seconds behind his countryman to claim 11th position.
Loris Capirossi (P13) had a tough afternoon as the injuries that he is suffering with took their toll on the Italian’s battered body. He fought manfully to overcome the discomfort he was suffering and managed to bring the bike – and himself – safely home to see the chequered flag for the first time in six races.
Today’s weather was a marked contrast from what had previously been experienced at the Portuguese circuit as the heavy rain that had caused the cancellation of yesterdays qualifying gave way to windy, but sunny conditions. World title holder Jorge Lorenzo produced a champion’s performance in front of a crowd of just over 40,000 to win the race by over eight seconds from his nearest rival.
Rizla Suzuki will now travel directly to Valencia in Spain for the final round of the season next weekend, with both riders hoping to put today’s difficult race firmly behind them and finish the season on a positive note.
“I feel very disappointed because I just didn’t expect this result here. I know the weekend has been very strange, because we only rode in dry conditions in the race, but before I came here I thought we would have a good performance. When I started the race I quickly realised I couldn’t get a good rhythm because I didn’t seem to have much grip in the front or rear tyres and on the straights I also had a problem with the bike being very unstable – I even had to close the throttle sometimes because I couldn’t control the bike properly. I fought for a position in the top-10, but I also had a bit of a problem with braking hard and that made it very difficult to overtake other riders. I hope that next week we can finish the season with a good result to make up for today’s disappointment.”
“The race was not so good, nor was the position, but I am still happy because it has been a long time since I have finished a race. I don’t remember when the last one was – I think it was Indianapolis – so to finish was my first target today. We never rode in dry conditions here all weekend so we did not know what setting to go for in the race and the bike was really unstable today, so I had to fight with that as well. I was able to overtake Carlos early on and from then I just wanted to finish the race. It has been really hard for me today, but as I said I am happy just to finish.
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Going straight into the race with no dry practice at all was always going to throw up some interesting results, but unfortunately we definitely needed some dry running to get the bike working properly. The biggest problem for both riders today was stability, which was not helped by the strong cross winds down the main straight, but our competitors didn’t seem to have the same trouble at all. Álvaro fought hard – as always – but we couldn’t give him a good enough tool for the job today and we’ll be hoping that we can improve things in Valencia and he can finish his season as strongly as his potential has shown in the last few races.
“For Loris it was a bonus for him just to see the chequered flag, his physical condition is far from good and he did well to tough it out and bring the bike home.”
bwin Grande Premio de Portugal Race Classification:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 46’17.962: 2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +8.629: 3. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +26.475: 4. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) +26.534: 5. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +27.154: 11. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1’17.908: 13. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1’39.752:
World Championship Classification:
1. Lorenzo 358: 2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 236: 3. Rossi 217: 4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 205: 5. Dovizioso 195. 13. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 78: 16. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 44: