Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista produced a strong first day’s performance to put him inside the top-10 at Sachsenring today.
Bautista recorded a quickest time of 1’23.261 from his 46 laps around the 3,671m German circuit, to put him in ninth place in the overall standings and just over one second off the provisional pole position. Bautista tried both compounds of Bridgestone race tyre today to find the construction best suited to his Suzuki GSV-R. He is sure that if conditions improve, he will be able to reduce his lap-times significantly and move up the leader-board as he prepares for Sunday’s race.
Both of today’s practice sessions were held in dry conditions, but with cool air temperatures and a strong wind blowing over the Sachsenring circuit, track temperatures were kept down at only 36ºC. Marco Simoncelli on a Honda took today’s honours by recording the fastest lap in both sessions to head the timesheets after day one
Bautista will have one more practice session tomorrow morning before the hour of qualifying in the afternoon gives him the chance of his final preparations in readiness for Sunday 30-lap race, which is scheduled to start at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
“Today has been a good day, because finally the rain didn’t make an appearance! This morning it was quite difficult because the track was cold and grip was at a minimum. I took it careful and just got the feel of the bike because I didn’t want to crash like some of the other guys did. This afternoon we tried different combinations of tyres to get the best mix for the bike. I started with a used set of soft ones from this morning’s session and then changed to harder ones on the front and rear. These didn’t give me such a good feeling and I swapped the front for a soft and this was better. The rear worked well, but I still had some sliding from the left side and found it difficult to get a good line through the corners. I felt I had a good rhythm throughout the whole practice and I think that I can certainly improve quite a bit tomorrow, especially if the conditions are better as this will give us more grip from the rear and we will have a good opportunity to move forward.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It’s a Grand Prix weekend and the weather looks changeable, so nothing at all new there! That said, today was probably our best first day of the season so far. Álvaro showed solid pace in both sessions and he had a particularly strong final run in FP2 using the harder of the two rear tyres. There’s no doubt that for our bike, and Álvaro, the soft rear tyre will produce a better lap-time, so we’ve got a good base to work on. Álvaro looks very confident throwing the bike around this tight circuit and without question the latest generation GSV-R is quite a big improvement here at Sachsenring compared to previous seasons.”
eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland Free Practice Classification:
1. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1’22.225: 2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.095: 3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 0.207: 4. Casey Stoner (Honda) +0.317: 5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +0.429: 9. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SZUKI MOTOGP) +1.036: