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Bautista hails ‘big step’ for new season

Bautista hails ‘big step’ for new season

Álvaro Bautista heads into the new MotoGP™ campaign with confidence, positive over improvements made at GO&FUN Honda Gresini. However his pre-season was not completely trouble-free, having suffered a crash in Jerez.

Bautista’s accident came on the penultimate day of testing and left the Spaniard on the sidelines across the final 24 hours. That aside, he is pleased with general progress and now heads to the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar in which he qualified 11th and finished seventh last year.

“The new season is about to start and I think we are ready,” he begins. “We did a great job throughout the pre-season, even though we weren't helped by the weather in the final session at Jerez. Unfortunately we still had some things we needed to test, so it would have been good but we didn't get a chance.

“Anyway, overall we have made a big step from last year…we'll keep working to make the bike more rideable and make sure we're as competitive as we can be for the race. I had a lot of problems in Qatar practice last year and only managed to finish seventh in the race, which I wasn't happy with, so this year we'll certainly look to make up for it.”

Bautista is now joined by a teammate, as Australian rookie Bryan Staring enters MotoGP as a representative of the CRT class. He raced to fourth overall in last year’s FIM Superstock 1000 series and his only previous MotoGP appearance came at the age of 17, as a wildcard entry to Phillip Island’s 125 race of 2004.

“I am nervous and excited about making my debut in MotoGP,” Staring admits. “After an encouraging test at Jerez, I am highly motivated and confident we can do well. I don't know Losail but I have watched all the races there on television and I'm curious to experience it myself.

“I have worked hard with the team throughout the winter and gradually I’m getting used to the bike, which is very different to anything I have ridden before. I have gradually adapted my riding style to cope with the power of the FTR-Honda and I am now ready for this new experience.”

In 2012, Bautista and Gresini rode to a pair of podium finishes, coming home third in the respective Grands Prix of San Marino and Japan.

MotoGP, 2013, COMMERCIAL BANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Bryan Staring, Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini

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