Bautista determined to finish race at Laguna Seca for first time and put bad memories to rest
After a difficult weekend followed by a positive day of testing at Mugello Team San Carlo Honda Gresini heads to the United States this weekend with renewed faith and confidence. The post-race session last Monday in Italy gave Alvaro Bautista the opportunity to rebuild his feeling for the Honda RC213V before tackling the spectacular Laguna Seca circuit in California. Using the soft tyres the Spaniard completed 49 laps of Mugello at an impressive pace.
So far he has not had much luck at Laguna Seca. The Talaverano did not make it to the finish on his first visit in 2010 after he was hit by Aleix Espargaro in the early laps while last year he was running eighth when he crashed on the 14th lap. But those races were run on a different brand and the former 125cc World Champion is confident of a change in fortunes now that he is aboard the San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V. Certainly that is the case if you look at his season statistics. To this point last year he had 39 points, having missed the first two races with a broken leg, but this year his tally is already at 73, despite crashing out at Assen and getting his lowest finish of the season with 10th last time out at Mugello.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a paved road racing track used for both auto racing and motorcycle racing, originally constructed in 1957 near both Salinas and Monterey, California, USA. The current racetrack is 2.238 miles (3.602 km) in length with a 180 feet (55 m) elevation change. It has eleven turns, including the famous “Corkscrew” at Turns 8 and 8A.
Alvaro Bautista “Mugello was a difficult weekend for us. I was desperate to perform well in the team’s home race, especially with the livery going back to white, but unfortunately we had a lot of problems using the hard tyre and that prevented us from finding a set-up that we liked. I never managed to find a good feeling with the bike, so I wasn’t able to push it or myself to the limit. Since returning home I have been working hard on my physical fitness and I went down to Albacete to watch the Spanish Championship race. Now I want to rediscover the pace and feeling for my bike that I had before Mugello. It would be nice to have a ‘normal’ weekend so that we can work on maximising our potential and being as competitive as we have been in the last few races. A good result would set us up for the next few weeks and also put some bad memories to rest for me in MotoGP at Laguna, because I have yet to actually finish a race there. Laguna Seca is a difficult circuit with dramatic elevation changes and blind corners where you have to anticipate the entry point in order to get the best line. It is important to have a good setting on the bike otherwise your job on the track gets much more difficult. There is a wonderful and unique ambience with there only being the MotoGP class and the atmosphere created by the American fans is fantastic.”
Fausto Gresini “The trip to America comes on the back of a disappointing home Grand Prix for us, but Laguna Seca presents a chance to put things right. The data we gathered during the test at Mugello was all positive and we’re feeling confident now. Alvaro has rediscovered the confidence he was lacking in the bike over the weekend when he was forced to use the hard tyre. Using the soft tyre in the test he was able to rediscover his feeling with the bike and he is confident he can get back to the form he showed before Mugello.”
Source: Gresini Racing, Honda Pro Racing