Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista looked set for the best MotoGP finish of his career so far at Brno today until he crashed with only six laps remaining.
Bautista began the race from 14th on the grid and rode a superb first lap to put him up to 10th. On the fourth lap he moved in to seventh position and set about hunting down the leading group. He consistently recorded podium-position lap-times and joined a five man group that was battling for second. Bautista had closed the gap on Valentino Rossi and looked like he would make an attack in the closing stages of the race. As Bautista entered turn 13 on the 16th lap he lost the front tyre and slid in to the gravel. He was uninjured and retrieved his machine and re-mounted, but was unable to continue and rode back to the pits. He was visibly upset as he knew that he had the potential today to record a very good result.
Today’s race was held in warm and sunny conditions and the 155,400 fans packed in to the Brno circuit saw Casey Stoner ride to a convincing victory to increase his lead at the top of the championship standings.
Rizla Suzuki now heads back over the Atlantic for the second race in five weeks in America, as the riders get ready to line up for the Indianapolis Grand Prix on Sunday 28th August.
“I have a strange feeling because I am frustrated that I didn’t finish after crashing, but I am also quite happy because I did all that was possible to stay with the front group. I was riding just a few seconds behind second position and, after starting from the back of the grid, I was pleased about that. I made a good start and got past some riders in the first few corners and before long I was behind the quick group. After that I pushed to my maximum – I was on the limit, but everything was under control – and then with six laps to go I crashed. I lost the front and it was strange because I entered the corner like the lap before and felt nothing wrong.
“I want to say thank-you to all the team and the sponsors for their confidence and support. I also want to say sorry because it has been a difficult weekend for everybody; we started with two bikes and only had one in the race and none at the end. We expected a good result here, but at the end we are very disappointed with what happened. We need to keep working well in the next few races, we have a good race pace and rhythm, but we need to improve in qualifying because starting from the back means I have to give more effort at the start to catch the front group. I think if we start nearer the front we can stay with the group a lot easier, and the results will come.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“John Hopkins told me after Friday that the Rizla Suzuki had improved so much since Jerez – and that it was capable of fighting for the podium. This was a nice thing for Suzuki’s engineers to hear, and it confirmed – alongside the potential recently shown by Álvaro – that the new chassis, new electronics strategies and new setting direction was correct. So to end up here on Sunday afternoon with John in a cast and Álvaro in the gravel – after a stirring display – is so depressing. We are all working hard to get the best results possible and to keep Suzuki in MotoGP – we need a little luck!
“Álvaro crashed with six laps to go, that’s the reality and we are sorry to all our sponsors, fans and friends of the team. However, the race statistics do show more of the potential:
– We started 14th and we were 10th at the end of lap one, and seventh at the end of lap four. The only place gifted to us was Dani’s crash.
– Álvaro’s average lap-time until the crash was faster than Jorge, Ben, and Valentino, and was 0.2 from Andrea and Marco, despite the traffic caused by the starting position.
– Álvaro’s average lap-time was 1.8 seconds faster per lap than 2010.
– On laps 8,9,10 and 12 Álvaro was the second fastest rider on the track, and was the third fastest on lap 11.
– Before the crash, Álvaro was only three seconds back from P2.
– Álvaro’s best top speed over the weekend was fourth fastest at 298.3km/h, only 2.7km/h slower than the best.
“Thanks again to John for his professionalism at Brno, and to Suzuki, Rizla and Fixi for helping us to give him the opportunity. As for Álvaro – what a fantastic effort, but we have to qualify better and finish the races, and make use of the obvious potential that he and the Rizla Suzuki have. We believe in him completely and we will go to Indy and give our maximum once again.”
Cardion AB Grand Prix Ceské Republicky Race Classification:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 43’16.796: 2. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +6.532: 3. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) +7.792: 4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +8.513: 5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +10.186: DNF. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP):
World Championship Classification:
1. Stoner 218: 2. Lorenzo 186: 3. Dovizioso 163: 4. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 118: 5. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 110: 14. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 39: