Round 6, Sepang, Malaysia
Sunday 8th June
Conditions: Dry, sunny/cloudy 32-36C (air), 52-59C (track)
Team Bimota Alstare riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian endured a difficult pair of races at Sepang International circuit today, but took away many positives despite the trying conditions. Today saw the hottest weather of the weekend and the searing heat of the tarmac caused grip problems for many of the riders.
Race 1 started superbly for Christian, who was in seventh place at the end of the first lap, with Ayrton just three places behind in 10th. It was all going well until Christian lost the front and crashed out on lap nine, fortunately without injury. Ayrton carried on the fight alone and finished 12th, after experiencing set-up and grip problems.
Race 2 was red-flagged after a few laps, due to Claudio Corti’s bike catching fire, and restarted as a 10-lapper. Ayrton finished 13th overall (and runner-up in the EVO class) and Christian 16th (overall) and 5th in the EVO category.
Ayrton Badovini – Race 1: 12th overall, 4th EVO, Race 2: 13th overall, 2nd EVO
“Race 1 started well, but I couldn’t really feel what the bike was doing, especially on the front end. I am not sure if it was to do with the high temperatures or not, but the bike wasn’t turning very well. I rode as hard as I could, without taking any big risks and brought the bike home as best I could.
For me the second race was better for us because it was shorter. I was happier because my bike worked a bit better than it did in the first race. We had changed quite a few things and that allowed me to push harder. For the first seven laps I pushed really hard and took a few risks and then I took things a bit more steadily and made sure of a respectable finish.”
Christian Iddon – Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 16th overall, 5th EVO
“In race 1, I made a good start but after eight laps or so, I lost the front and crashed. Maybe I was pushing a bit too hard and that’s why it happened. I wanted to get going again so I picked the bike and tried to restart it, but it wouldn’t fire up, so that was that. Up until the crash things had not been great because I was having problems with front end almost every time I released the brakes. I wasn’t near the ragged edge and tried to push my way through the problem, but failed.
In the shortened second race, I had a series of false neutrals and that really upset my rhythm. It started on the very first lap and then continued three or four times more. Every time it happened I would go straight on and lose positions and that was frustrating to say the least. I had no feeling for the grip, so rode as steadily as I could to finish the race. At the end of the day, I am a bit disappointed about how things worked out. It’s been the most difficult weekend of the year so far, but I guess these things happen.”
Francis Batta (Team Manager)
This was our hardest race weekend of the season, but we had no problems with the engine or the chassis, so this is good news. This track is difficult and it is hard to get a good set-up, but we still managed to get a runner-up spot in the EVO class in race 2 and that, together with our recent good results, shows what we are capable of – even at this early stage in this bike’s development. At the moment, our biggest problem is the electronics, because we are unable to do everything that we would like. However, I am happy that our results so far have been good and now I am looking forward to even better results in the second half of the season.”