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Simoncelli and Bautista reflect on qualifying simulation

Simoncelli and Bautista reflect on qualifying simulation

250cc duo light up Jerez test with battle for timesheet supremacy.

Not to be outdone by the MotoGP showpiece shootout, 2008’s 250cc top two had their own “qualifying” battle on Friday at Jerez. Riders Marco Simoncelli and Álvaro Bautista were riding for pride rather than a brand new BMW sports car, but held nothing back in the final daytime runout of preseason.

Reigning World Champion Simoncelli eventually came out on top in the last session of the Official Test, having trailed Bautista over the previous two days. A 1’42.477 lap left even the Metis Gilera rider himself wondering where time had been saved.

“I don’t know where I found that last lap!” he explained after the Friday session. “We had three good days testing parts, and we ended up with a clearer idea of things, but the last hour we decided to do a qualifying simulation and used three new sets of tyres to set a fast lap.”

The mind games tactic of leaving on a high is one frequently used by the Italian’s close friend Valentino Rossi, most recently at the test held at the same track last November. Simoncelli acknowledged the psychological importance of his feat, especially with Bautista looking strong in preseason.

“It was important to be the fastest here, as in Portugal at the last test and the opening days here we were not the quickest.”

Despite coming out on the losing end of the simulation, Bautista was glad to have partaken in another duel with his Italian rival.

“A rider needs this pressure and tension,” said the Mapfre Aspar rider. “We were very fast, and I hope that we can be at the same level in Qatar. It was definitely like a Grand Prix session here, as I’d put a tyre on and go faster and then Simoncelli would do the same. Right now I maybe lack a little fitness in my collarbone, but I think that I will be at 100% for the first race.”

Either Simoncelli and Bautista took pole at twelve of the eighteen races held in the 2008 season.

250cc, 2009

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