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Álvaro Bautista followed on from his strong performance last weekend in Germany to produce his best first day’s performance of the season so far...

Álvaro Bautista followed on from his strong performance last weekend in Germany to produce his best first day’s performance of the season so far at Laguna Seca today.

Bautista (P7, 1’23.056, 49 laps), was in constant touch with the top-six through the afternoon session, even though he couldn’t find the rear grip from his Rizla Suzuki that he wanted over the 3,610m American circuit. He worked hard with his crew to get the levels of adhesion that he is looking for to make the next step up and compete with the group in front of him. Bautista still believes there is more to come from him and his machine over the rest of the weekend and is in a confident mood as he heads towards tomorrow’s qualifying session.

Today’s afternoon practice was held in brilliant sunshine with cloudless skies covering the Laguna Seca Raceway. World Champion Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha was the fastest rider of the day, with last weekend’s winner Dani Pedrosa second and current championship leader Casey Stoner in third. Bautista is only a second from first place and will be looking to break into a 1’22 lap tomorrow, a feat which was only achieved by the top-six today.

Rizla Suzuki has a free practice session of 45-minutes tomorrow morning followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday’s 32-lap race is the 10th of the season and the action gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (21.00hrs GMT).

Álvaro Bautista: “This morning the track was very cold so we started with the softer tyres and from the beginning it felt like we didn’t have very much grip from the rear when entering a corner. The contact feeling wasn’t quite right so we worked on improving that and we also tried some different electronics settings for the spin control. In the second session the track temperatures had increased so we used the harder compound tyres, but we seemed to have the same problem as this morning with corner entry grip. This didn’t give me a good feeling and made me slower in the corner and on the exit than I wanted to be. We worked hard to try and resolve it but we didn’t quite manage it, so it gives us something to work towards tomorrow. My lap-times and rhythm were not too bad though and I was able to follow some fast guys quite easily, so this is a good sign. I hope that tomorrow we can improve on the rear grip and do some work on the gearbox, because we are not at our maximum here just yet. So we have a lot of work to do on Saturday, but at the moment I am very confident because my feeling is positive like it was last week in Germany.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It’s been a very solid first day here at Laguna Seca for Álvaro and the Rizla Suzuki team. The performance at Sachsenring last weekend has helped his confidence and it’s clear that he has brought a slightly different tactic to Friday’s sessions to try and be as close to the lead group’s pace as he possibly can, as we head to qualifying on Saturday. We’re pretty close to the front guys everywhere except for the third section, but if we can find a decent step in lap-time there, and improve the overall rear grip, we should be in good shape for the rest of the weekend.”

Source: Rizla Suzuki MotoGP