Bautista completes comeback with positive Estoril Test

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista bravely tested for a short time at the Estoril track on Monday, despite the gruelling effort of Sunday’s 28-lap race and the expected pain and stiffness that followed.

Bautista completed only 17 laps in the morning, all on the same set of race specification tyres and despite the lack of laps and his physical condition, he set a best lap-time of 1’38.850 on his final circulation – over a full second faster than his best lap in Sunday’s race and over three-tenths faster than his qualifying time, which was set on brand new tyres on Saturday.

This marked improvement was largely due to a completely newly designed chassis for the Rizla Suzuki GSV-R, which performed well on initial tests in Japan and now has been proven to provide a good step forward in performance on a Grand Prix circuit. Bautista’s few laps on this new chassis was enough to convince him that it is a significant improvement and he will use it at the Le Mans Grand Prix in two weeks time.

Factory test rider Nobuatsu Aoki took over testing duties once Bautista had finished and ran through a series of electronic control strategy developments, as well as also re-testing the new chassis and positively confirming Bautista’s feedback on the improvements.

Álvaro Bautista
“My leg was really sore today - as I expected - but it was good enough to do four laps at a time and I really wanted to understand this new chassis, so I have to forget the pain and do some work, this is the life of a racer! Anyway, I am happy I tried it because – at least at this track – the step was quite big. The turning of the bike is improved a lot, this means I can open the gas much quicker and improve my corner speed and acceleration. The lap-time came a lot more easily with this chassis and when I followed Lorenzo, who was making low 1.38 at this point, we were really similar on the whole lap until we arrived in the slow chicane at the end of the circuit, then he disappeared because it’s just too painful to throw the bike through this direction change like I need to. But – apart from the actual position in the race - I achieved everything I wanted to here in Estoril so I am happy, and I will be stronger in Le Mans.”

“Thanks again to everyone at Rizla Suzuki for supporting me so well, and thanks to Suzuki in Japan for working so hard to improve the bike. It’s been a difficult few weeks but I am looking forward very positively – there are many races left to show what we can do!”

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