Rizla Suzuki and the MotoGP circus will re-group at Valencia in Spain this weekend for what promises to an emotional final race of 2011.
The whole paddock will be united in its grief as the teams all meet for the first time since the tragic accident that saw Marco Simoncelli lose his life during the Malaysian Grand Prix. Álvaro Bautista was battling with Simoncelli in the moments before the accident happened at Sepang and Suzuki’s Spanish star is determined to put on a good show in honour of his late adversary. Bautista and the Suzuki GSV-R have shown continued potential over recent events and the pair looked like pushing for a podium place in the last race before the event was cancelled. The Rizla Suzuki team will be aiming to continue with impressive recent performances and hoping to end the season on a positive note.
The 4,005m Ricardo Tormo circuit near the village of Cheste, close to Valencia, is the traditional end of season venue for MotoGP. It is usually a huge event with big crowds filling the enormous grandstands that enclose the only stadium track on the calendar. The mix of many tight corners and the close proximity of the fans makes the circuit one of the most intense tracks that the riders visit. This weekend will obviously be overshadowed by recent events, but the unique Valencian crowd will undoubtedly show respect as well as making the race a celebration.
Rizla Suzuki takes to the track on Friday for the two of the three free practice sessions available to the riders; the third is on the following morning. Saturday afternoon will feature an hour of qualifying to determine grid positions for Sunday’s 30-lap race, with the main event getting underway at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT) on Sunday 6th November.
“I am really looking forward to going to the Valencia race. It has been a tough time for all of us since Sepang, but I am ready for the last race and the fact that it is in my home country always makes it a special occasion. I have done well in the last few races, and my Suzuki has felt great, but the results have not arrived so we need to put that right. My target for the weekend is to fight to the maximum, finish the race with a good result and dedicate it to Marco. We had so many huge battles together – I will use these memories positively in Valencia.”