Álvaro Bautista made a steady start on the first day of his home Grand Prix to record 10th place in this afternoon’s free practice session and 11th overall on combined times.
Bautista (1’45.751, 32 laps) was only able to complete 12 laps during the first session this morning as intermittent rain made conditions very difficult. The weather cost all the riders almost half of the session as they waited for the track to improve and more inclement weather later in the day made the start of the afternoon practice quite wet. As it dried out Bautista became the first rider brave enough to use slick tyres – a decision that rewarded him with his first visit to the top of the leader-board this season. He continued to find a rhythm during the rest of the time available and set his fastest time of the day on his very last lap. Today’s best time was set by Casey Stoner on a Honda.
Bautista has one more free practice session tomorrow morning followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. He will be hoping that the forecasted rain stays away so he can get as much dry practice as possible and make sure he is prepared for whatever conditions face him in Sunday’s 25 lap race.
“It has been a very strange day today because of the weather. This morning we did less than half of the practice due to the rain and it was also quite difficult this afternoon. We made some changes to improve on the grip in the wet and I started to get a much better feeling from the bike. As it dried out later in the day I was able to go quicker and felt quite good on the bike, but now we have to wait for tomorrow and see what the conditions are. I am very confident for this weekend and hope that I can get the feeling back that I had before my injury. I had a good race here last year and now I’ve got my fitness back, and I’m at my home race, I ‘m sure that I can go well. I know that tomorrow we can improve the bike because we have a lot of information to make it go better. I’m really looking forward to Sunday’s race – I think it could be quite a good one!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Álvaro was looking for more performance than he was able to produce on one of his favourite circuits today. The weather conditions and the colder temperatures made the race-track less fun than usual and it’s completely understandable – coming back from the injury – that he took things step-by-step. He started to get a better feeling towards the end of FP2, but by then the tyres had done a lot of laps, so fingers crossed the weather will warm up and he can have a lot more fun tomorrow.”
Gran Premio Aperol de Catalunya Combined Free Practice Classification:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’42.940: 2. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) +0.528: 3. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +0.663: 4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.870: 5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +1.706: 11. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +2.811: