Bautista did a 22-lap run – the same as race distance at Qatar – at the end on the day to try and replicate the conditions he can expect during the race at the same time next Sunday. As track temperatures dropped and humidity rose, Bautista had many things to take into account as he circulated the 5,380m Losail Circuit. His lap-times and consistency were both very good and the team now has many pointers to work from as it prepares for next weekend.
Earlier in the evening Bautista tried some new geometry settings and a new Ohlins rear shock setting, which both produced positive results and will give the technicians some important information to work with. Bautista finished day one in 12th position on the timesheets, with a time of 1’57.302 from his 61 laps. Fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa topped the leader-board on his factory Honda.
Rizla Suzuki has one final day of pre-season testing at Qatar tomorrow, when Bautista and his crew have a thorough schedule to undertake as the countdown to the first race begins in earnest – with just seven days to go before the flag drops to signal the start of the new season.
Álvaro Bautista: “Today has been a lot of hard work and we are certainly clearer about some things for the race next week. We started the day with the softer compound tyres, but I didn’t feel very good on the exit of the corners because my bike was spinning a lot and I couldn’t open full gas on every corner. We tried to modify the spin control level and the software to get more from the grip levels and this helped a lot. I also tried the harder tyres, but it was also difficult to go fast with them at the beginning, so we made some changes to the bike and it was easier to go faster and I made my best lap of the day with those tyres. I did a long run at the end with the soft tyre because I wanted to know if it has the durability for the race, but my feeling was not too good because after a few laps it started to move around and was a lot more difficult to control than the harder one. We have made some good steps today because we have a very clear idea what we need to improve and tomorrow we will try a long run with the harder tyre to see how that performs. We hope we can get the maximum grip from the rear because this is the key point to go fast here.”
Source: Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
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