In the last MotoGP in Malaysia, Rizla Suzuki proved once again that they have a bike that can be optimised for hot conditions, and today at Phillip Island they proved once again that when conditions are colder they struggle to set the timesheets alight.
Alvaro Bautista ended the Phillip Island qualifying session in 14th place, and Loris Capirossi found himself suffering another crash and qualified at the back in 17th.
“It is a much different feeling here today than it was in Malaysia a week ago! We had the opportunity to ride in dry conditions today, but this morning we had a problem with the bike in the corners and I just couldn’t make it turn quick enough and I kept going out wide. This meant I couldn’t enter fast enough as well so I was losing a lot of time. This afternoon we tried two different specifications on the bikes and one of them was a little bit worse and the other was a bit better – but still not perfect. We have some hard work to do to still improve, but we have another opportunity in warm-up to try and get things better. We will continue with the way that we followed towards the end of this afternoon’s session and see if we can make some more steps forward. We know it’s going to be difficult, because after last week I had a lot of confidence coming to this race and thought that we could improve in the colder conditions, but it has been a lot colder than we thought it would be and that has made it a lot more difficult. In the race – as always – I will try to do my maximum and get the best result possible. It will be a tough race but I want to fight for a top-10, I know that is going to be hard, but we must try to be there.”
“It was really tough conditions today, but we have a bigger problem at the moment because we don’t know why I have crashed again. I went out on a used tyre and I followed Colin – he had a new front and rear tyre – and I went slower than him, but when I changed direction to go on the right side the bike just went from under me, this just feels so strange and I don’t know why. When you try hard and you make a mistake then it is normal to crash, but I didn’t make a mistake so I don’t know why the rear went away. I am in a bad position for the start tomorrow, but we will have to see what happens because I know I have to go better in the race.”
Tom O’Kane – Crew Chief Álvaro Bautista:
“It’s certainly been a difficult day, but we started to move in a positive direction towards the end of qualifying and it was a shame the rain came when it did. The modification that we made this afternoon was just as we put in the first soft tyre and it was the first step forward that we had taken all day, we will keep working in that direction in warm-up because I think there is still a bit to come from the bike and Álvaro. We usually have a few issues at this track – that is quite well known – but our problems are not as drastic as usual, we have grip now where we didn’t have before and we just need to work a bit on the turning to give Álvaro the chance to fight further up the field tomorrow.”
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