Alvaro Bautista equalled his best MotoGP qualifying position in Motegi by taking 9th position and securing a place on the third row for the race – the last time Bautista qualified in 9th was at Catalunya and he went on to finish in 5th position in the race. Loris Capirossi was close behind Bautista and took 10th position.
Despite having both bikes starting the top 10, the Rizla Suzuki team will be disappointed as the riders were scraping into the top 6 in earlier practice sessions.
Alvaro Bautista and Loris Capirossi reflect on Motegi qualifying below:
“The qualifying was not too bad; because we needed to do a good time to get the best position to make a good start on Sunday and we achieved that – although we would have liked to be a bit further up the grid. Today we started qualifying with a used tyre from this morning’s session and I did a constant rhythm and the feeling was good. We made a small change which didn’t work so we went back to this morning’s set up and straight away it felt better. I tried to find someone to follow, but it felt like I was alone on the track, so I concentrated on my own riding to make sure I did my best. The position is ok, but I think we can run further towards the front. The weather tomorrow could be wet so it will be important to get a good start and stay with the front group. I feel positive for tomorrow, even if it rains, because we have a good bike for the wet. I will give it full gas and push to the maximum to get a good result for Suzuki in its home Grand Prix.”
“I am a little bit upset by my mistake, because I started with the harder tyre and the rhythm was so good and I felt really confident on the bike. I fell off on turn one, there is one big bump there and I hit that and lost the front. I also lost a bit of confidence after that when I jumped on the other bike, I tried to keep my rhythm, but I just didn’t have the same feeling with that machine. I struggled with a bit of feeling at the front and I didn’t feel I could push as much as I wanted because I didn’t want to risk crashing again. The potential for us is good here and the bike is working well – I am very optimistic for the race and I think we can get a very positive result.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The guys were fifth and seventh in free practice this morning and we believe – and hope – that that is more of an indicator of their race pace. Loris’s crash definitely upset his rhythm, in addition to giving him a bit more pain to deal with, and that didn’t help when it came to taking the next leap-of-faith to get further up the grid. Álvaro’s laps were like clockwork and if he can get off the third row as well as he did in Catalunya, it could be a very interesting race for him tomorrow. We’re looking forward to the Grand Prix; it’s going to be a very tight race.”
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