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Third row for Bautista at a chilly Silverstone

Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista will start the team’s home Grand Prix at Silverstone from the third row of the grid after qualifying in ninth place today.

Bautista (2’04.520, 25 laps) again produced a solid day’s work on his Suzuki GSV-R and made constant improvements to find the optimum set-up for tomorrow’s race. As this afternoon’s qualifying drew to a close he pushed hard to improve on his lap-time, but got caught up in traffic and had to settle for a place on the third row, even though his potential showed he could have qualified higher.

The weather at Silverstone looks like playing a very important part this weekend. After the wet/dry session of yesterday, both of today’s sessions were held in dry conditions, but this afternoon saw air temperatures only reach 17ºC and a strong breeze made it feel even cooler. Pole position went to Casey Stoner on a Honda, as the Australian secured his fourth pole of the season.

Tomorrow’s 20-lap British Grand Prix gets underway at 13.00hrs local time (14.00hrs GMT), but with heavy rain forecast to arrive in the area of the circuit at around race-time, it could present a whole new lot of variables for Bautista and the rest of the MotoGP field.

Álvaro Bautista:

“Today we have been able to do both sessions in the dry conditions, so that has been good for us to test many things. I started this morning with the same setting as I had yesterday morning and I immediately felt a lot more comfortable today than I did on Friday. We were able to try the bike with a couple of different settings to make it shorter or longer – I preferred the longer set-up because this track has fast corners and you need more stability. I tried the front hard tyre this afternoon because the soft one this morning was a bit difficult to turn in some corners and I was also able to get a good rhythm with the used tyres today, so that is an important thing for the race. I think I could have improved my lap-time at the end, but I got in some traffic and was never able to follow someone faster than me. I am happy being on the third row, but I think our potential is better than that. The weather says it could rain, but I think we have a good setting for that from yesterday. Whatever happens I want to get a good start and get with the group in front and I’m sure I will be able to improve my rhythm and times. I am pleased with what we have done here this year, because in 2010 I had a bad feeling and wasn’t even able to put my knee down! This year it is a good sign that the bike has improved so much because I now feel comfortable and confident on it. I think we have made a good step forward and I am looking forward to the race.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“It is a sign of Álvaro coming back to full fitness that we are all a little disappointed with the third row! We all believe that he and the Suzuki GSV-R could have been in the high 2’03s if we’d found a better track position and put together a slightly better lap. The front few guys are a long way away, but wet or dry we want to be in the fight for the top-six tomorrow and Álvaro has the ability to make that happen.

“As a UK based team, everyone at Rizla Suzuki would like to pass our wishes for a very quick recovery to Call Crutchlow. It’s never nice to hurt yourself, but at your home Grand Prix it must be very upsetting – get well soon Cal.”

AirAsia British Grand Prix Qualifying Practice Classification:

1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 2’02.020: 2. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) +0.188: 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.217: 4. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +0.657: 5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +1.192: 9. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +2.500:

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