Alvaro Bautista shrugged off a crash that destroyed his Suzuki on the final night of MotoGP testing in Qatar and is optimistic about his chances in the season-opener this weekend.
The Spaniard was one of a large number of riders to have accidents on a night of strong winds and sandy track conditions, as he lost control at the final corner at 250kph with only a few minutes to go.
Team boss Paul Denning felt Bautista had been lucky to escape injury, but that the incident had not taken the shine off a promising winter.
"Up until the last 10 minutes of these 10 hours of testing, the two nights had been extremely productive for Alvaro and the Rizla Suzuki team," said Denning. "A 250kph crash is never a good thing and the GSV-R that he was riding won't see the light of day again, but he is almost completely unmarked – so we can put that one down to good fortune and move on to the race weekend with optimism."
Bautista, who suffered only cuts and bruises, suspected cold tires had been a factor in the accident.
"At the end, I hoped to make a long run with the harder tires, but it was too late," he said. "So instead I put a soft tire in the rear and a hard in the front to try to make a good lap, but I tried to warm the tires on the out-lap so I could push hard and, when I arrived in the last corner, I braked very hard and lost the front, so I finished my day before the end of the test."
Denning said Bautista had not pushed to show the bike's outright pace until his ill-fated final run, so has not yet shown his hand. The Suzuki was 12th tonight.
"The bike's performed consistently over the two nights, and while we haven't pushed for a qualifying type lap time, Alvaro's rhythm over the long runs is quite competitive and we've got a good direction to start the grand prix weekend," said the team boss.