Bautista fastest non-factory Ducati on day one in Buriram

2018-10-05 08:30
Ángel Nieto Team make Buriram debut with Álvaro Bautista in seventh place and Karel Abraham 20th

The MotoGP World Championship made its official bow in Buriram, Thailand today, having previously only visited for a preseason test, with just three tenths covering the top ten riders on track in free practice. On a layout that seems to suit Ducati thanks to its long straights, Andrea Dovizioso (1’31.090) set the pace although his teammate Jorge Lorenzo was unable to complete the second session after a heavy crash at turn 3. The Spaniard ended the day down in sixteenth position as a result, with Maverick Viñales, Cal Crutchlow and Marc Márquez all lapping within a tenth of Dovizioso today.

The Ángel Nieto Team kicked off in Thailand with Álvaro Bautista as the fastest non-factory Ducati rider on track, the Spaniard lapping seventh fastest and just three tenths off the day’s pacesetter Andrea Dovizioso. Bautista reported a better feeling in the afternoon, when the track temperature was higher, and he was lapping consistently in the top five until a late crash gave a couple of other riders to lap faster in the closing stages. Karel Abraham was 20th fastest today, ahead of a couple of factory bikes and riders on equal or better machinery than him. With seventeen riders within a second, the Czech rider was only 1.3 seconds off top spot today after clocking up 35 laps, with his focus for tomorrow on improving front and rear-end stability on his Ducati GP16.

7th Álvaro Bautista 1:31.378 (39 laps): “I am happy with the result but today was strange, this morning I just didn’t have the same feeling as recent races. Michelin have brought a different kind of tyre to this race and whenever there’s a change we seem to suffer. We didn’t try to set a lap time this morning, just focused on getting my reference points for this track. Then in the afternoon, with the higher track temperature, I got more feedback from the tyres and the feeling improved. We have also tried a few things with the bike and still managed to stay inside the top five. The crash at the end was a shame, although I wasn’t hurt and I don’t think I could have really improved the lap time by much.”

20th Karel Abraham 1:32.403 (35 laps): “As we expected, the first day here in Thailand has been very hot and it seems like it will stay this way all weekend, so it will be tough. We have had a good day today, with a normal first session and then a better second one. We had some problems with the front and rear end, which we are getting a lot of movement from, but we are working hard to improve it. We have taken a few steps forward and with a little luck tomorrow we can do the same or even better.”


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