Rizla Suzuki’s Ãlvaro Bautista recorded the 11th fastest time at Motegi in Japan today, but knows there is more potential to come from rider and machine.
Bautista completed 38 laps of the 4,801m Japanese circuit, recording his quickest time of 1’48.097 on his last lap of the day. He will continue to work through a number of various set-up changes tomorrow and carry on searching for the best tyre choice, as he prepares for Sunday’s race.
Today’s practice sessions were held in warm and pleasant conditions with track temperatures reaching 41ºC. Dani Pedrosa clocked the best time, with current championship leader Casey Stoner second.
Rizla Suzuki has one more free practice session at its home Grand Prix tomorrow morning, before an hour of qualifying will determine grid positions for Sunday’s 24-lap race.
“We tested a different setting this morning and compared it against the one from Aragon. We used the new set-up in the bike with the new swinging-arm and it was definitely better. This afternoon we tried the harder option tyres, because although the softer ones were not too bad this morning, I still had a bit of movement entering the corners. This track has a lot of hard braking and the harder front tyre is much better for that because it gives me more stability. We still don’t know which compound we will use for the race, so we have to test a bit more tomorrow and it will also depend on the temperature on race-day. At the end I got into a fairly good rhythm, but I still don’t feel 100% with the bike. I had a little gear-shift problem and this made judging the braking points quite difficult, and I had a lot of movement because I was moving my whole body to change down a gear. We improved at the end, but not enough and I think that we can make some big steps tomorrow. With some hard work we can make the bike perform better and improve our lap-time.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“We didn’t get up to speed as quickly as we would have liked to here in Motegi. Ãlvaro has had a number of small restrictions that have held him back, but on the positive side his best lap-time wasnÂ’t faster than his regular rhythm and was very repeatable. By the end of FP2 the gap to the top-six had reduced to a level which will hopefully allow us to make in-roads during tomorrow and the team will improve the bike overnight.”
“After much debate – which in the end I am glad we as Rizla Suzuki stayed away from – it’s a pleasure to be back in Motegi and find the circuit and the Japanese fans so welcoming to the MotoGP circus!”
Grand Prix of Japan Free Practice Classification:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’46.790: 2. Casey Stoner (Honda) +0.054: 3. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +0.162: 4. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) +0.389: 5. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.520: 11. ÃLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOTGP) +1.307: