Little to take from opening day in Austria

2018-08-10 15:24
Álvaro Bautista finishes the only dry session just a tenth off Q2 positions

Andrea Dovizioso headed up a Ducati trio at the top of the timesheets following the opening day of the Austrian Grand Prix today, continuing a strong tradition for the Italian factory at this track over the past two years. Dovizioso was the only rider capable of breaking the 1’24 barrier today, lifting him above teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Independent rider Danilo Petrucci on the same machinery as the factory pair. Heavy rainfall in the afternoon meant that lap times were around ten seconds slower in the second session, which was topped by Marc Márquez from Scott Redding.

There were few conclusions to be taken from the opening day’s action for the Ángel Nieto Team, with the second session ruined by the rain. Álvaro Bautista had lapped thirteenth fastest this morning, just a tenth of a second outside the top ten and a provisional place in Q2. The Spaniard was amongst the pacesetters throughout the session but was unable to match the improvements made by his rivals in the latter stages as he struggled with a front brake issue. Karel Abraham ended the day with a good feeling despite not being able to complete his work programme with his first bike this morning due to a technical problem. Even so the Czech rider was just 1.7 seconds off the top and 0.7 outside the top ten in 20th place.

12+1 Álvaro Bautista 1:24.938 (28 laps): “We’re close to the top ten. We were running up at the top from the start and we knew that this afternoon and tomorrow there was the chance of rain. We all tried for a lap time to secure a spot in Q2 but on my last lap I had an issue with the front brake – it was the same set I used at Brno and it seems it lost some performance. It wasn’t to be and we missed out on the top ten and Q2 if it rains tomorrow by a tenth of a second. If we get good conditions I feel good, although this tyre is a slightly harder construction and I don’t have the same feeling with it. Even so, the feeling is not bad with the medium tyre and in the dry I think we can match the level of the last few races. We only managed a few laps in the wet, I think it’s the first day it’s rained all season, and we have more work to do with the set-up. Anyway, the track wasn’t as slippery as we thought it would be, the grip wasn’t bad.”

20º Karel Abraham 1:25.541 (28 laps): “I really like the circuit, it is so nice apart from maybe one corner. This morning didn’t go badly, I pushed hard. We wanted to work with one bike, which had a new engine, but unfortunately because of a technical problem we had to use the other one. Just before the second session this afternoon it started to pour down and I didn’t think we would get out to ride but in the end we got half an hour in the wet. It was one of the first times we have ridden in the wet this season. The track surface wasn’t bad, although I was very cautious in a couple of sections. I improved gradually but the pressure in the front increased, I was having some problems with it and I had to stop. When I went back out it was raining a lot and I had some issues with aquaplaning. It is difficult to evaluate the results because we were all improving lap by lap and the order was constantly changing.”


Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story