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Bautista wants to fight for the podium

Bautista wants to fight for the podium

The Rizla Suzuki rider is ready to take his MotoGP experience up a level in 2011, and spoke to motogp.com ahead of the Sepang Test.

After an off-season which has involved a rigorous training regime save for two weeks of vacation, Álvaro Bautista is now ready to tackle the upcoming Sepang Test next week with refreshed enthusiasm.

The Spaniard is approaching his second season in the premier class of the MotoGP World Championship with the responsibility of being the sole Rizla Suzuki rider on the grid in 2011, a challenge the personable 26 year-old is ready to accept without hesitation as he explained to motogp.com.

“It’ll be a difficult year, but I have more experience with the bike and I’m sure everything I learnt last season will help me,” began Bautista. “It’s true I’ll be the only rider on the team, but I have great confidence in Suzuki because last year we did a good job of evolving the bike and we’ll continue that this year. Last year I took two fifth places (Catalunya and Malaysia) which were great, but this year I’d like to aim to fight for the podium in some races. I think if we do a good job in pre-season this could be possible.”

He added: “As the sole rider the factory will work on what I ask them to, whereas if there was another rider he could perhaps suggest a different direction. I know they’re going to work just for me and this is very positive because they’ll work from my feedback.”

That work will continue between February 1st and 3rd in Malaysia when the first official MotoGP Test of 2011 takes place.

“We’ll start with the setting that we tried at the last Test in Valencia (in November),” explained Bautista. “We saw various positive things there and we’ll go with that base. In Japan they’ve been working very hard throughout the winter to try and improve things on this front. We tried a different engine position in the chassis and that appeared to give us a little more confidence, but we have to confirm this at this Test to see if we were going in the right direction.”

He also noted: “All the bikes can improve. When Valentino went to Yamaha it was a bike that was perhaps inferior in comparison to others, and he made it into a winner. I think with hard work and knowing what needs to be done at the right time, it (the GSV-R) can improve. Suzuki has the capacity and potential to do this and we’ll see if we can do it this winter. I believe we lack a little rear grip in the bike, and in corner entry and exit, and we’ll focus on improving this aspect. If we do that, we’ll have made a significant advancement.”

With a year in the top flight now under his belt Bautista feels well prepared for his second term. “I learnt a lot last year. I had great experiences but also bad ones too, such as my injured collarbone. I believe I’ve matured a lot as a rider and that I improved a bit towards the end of the year. I still have a lot to learn in this category, but if I don’t have any problems with injury I think I can take a big step forward as a rider.”

Ambition is a strong component in the former 125cc World Champion’s personality, and his aims remain high. “I don’t know in which race I can win or how but I know I have rivals who have won races or even the title, such as Lorenzo, and who I have beaten when I raced against them in other categories. Why shouldn’t I be able to do that in this class? I also know it’s not easy and that I have to work hard to achieve this,” Bautista concluded.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011, Alvaro Bautista, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

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