The Rizla Suzuki team have a reputation for getting their machines going well in hot and oppressive temperatures, and that was at least half true in the Malaysian MotoGP in Sepang today as Alvaro Bautista was on the pace to battle for a 5th position finish. Loris Capirossi was the exception to this rule, and was forced to retire with electrical problems in lap 5 – Capirossi was in 11th position when the failure happened and was forced to park his bike at the side of the track.
Bautista started from 8th on the grid, but was soon pushed back outside of the top 10 riders after being jostled at the start. As the race progressed Bautista found in pace and soon became involved in the middle of a four bike scrap between his old 250cc foes Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama; Nicky Hayden also joined in the fight. Positions were swapped on a regular basis in some heated and tight racing, until Bautista made one of the moves of the race and passed Simoncelli and Aoyama at the same time to move into fifth on the 17th lap.
Both Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista talk about the race below:
“I am very happy with today’s result because I battled hard with other riders and made the result for myself. The start was not too bad, but on the second corner I had to pick up the bike because some other riders went inside me and I lost some positions. Lap-by-lap I started to overtake other riders and at half distance we caught up to Simoncelli and when I saw that Spies went past him and went away I knew I had to get past Marco and stay with him. I got in a great battle with Simoncelli and I lost some time, and a position, but I had to recover and get past him and Aoyama. When I got into fifth, Spies was quite a way in front and it was difficult to catch him, but I did try and he could have made a mistake at any time that would have helped me get closer. We finished only 15 seconds behind first place and this shows we are improving, so this is very good. I want to say thank-you to all my team, Suzuki, Rizla and all the sponsors, because we are putting in a big effort and going forward together. The bike is now better than at the beginning of the year and I have improved so we are looking forward to the last races.”
“I really don’t know what to say today, I am just so disappointed. We don’t deserve the things that keep happening, but we’ll keep going and hope that our luck improves very soon.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It was a fantastic ride by Álvaro today. The race had everything in it and could have been even better for him but for a bit of bumping in turn two and the fact that he lost a number of places after making a good start. We haven’t seen many better passes than his move on Simoncelli and Aoyama in turn nine that gave him fifth place! After that he put his head down and tried to catch Ben for fourth – which without question he had the pace to achieve – but there just weren’t enough laps left. Huge congratulations to him and his crew for an excellent performance over the whole weekend.
“As for Loris’s weekend it’s difficult to say anything that could compensate for how he must be feeling. He was a hero to qualify the bike yesterday afternoon after such a huge crash in the morning and deserved a whole lot better out of the Grand Prix. I don’t know if someone has a Loris voodoo doll somewhere that is causing us this incredible run of bad luck, but if so please put it away! He always gives 100% and deserves a good result within the final three Grands Prix to put a silver lining on what has been a very difficult season.”
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