Bautista just a tenth outside provisional Q2 positions

2018-11-02 14:37
Ángel Nieto Team rider back on his Ducati GP17 and just a second off the best lap of the day

Álex Rins is the man in form in MotoGP; after his fifth place in Australia the Spanish rider finished the first day of free practice at Sepang on top of the combined timesheets, having posted a 1’59.608 that places him ahead of the top three riders in the championship. Andrea Dovizioso was second fastest today with Marc Márquez third and Valentino Rossi fourth, as the weather conditions that hindered both Moto3 sessions thankfully cleared for MotoGP, allowing the riders to prepare properly for the penultimate race of the season.

Álvaro Bautista was just a tenth of a second outside the positions that will give direct access to Q2 in tomorrow’s third and final free practice, the Ángel Nieto Team rider back on board his Ducati GP17 after spending the weekend with the factory team in Australia. The Spaniard was unable to post a fast flying lap at the end of the session after running into the gravel during the final minutes, when his traction control also deactivated. After returning to the garage to fix the issue, Bautista only had time for one more lap but he is confident of making the necessary improvements to his lap time tomorrow. His teammate Karel Abraham was also back on his regular steed, the Ducati GP16, and finished nineteenth fastest on a day that saw close lap times throughout the field. Some small improvements tomorrow should help the Czech rider move up the order.

12th Álvaro Bautista 2:00.664 (34 laps): “My pace and my feeling today were good and I felt comfortable on the bike, but at the end I had a problem with the brake and ran onto the gravel and the bike developed a problem with the traction control. I had to come back in to reset it and there was only enough time when I went back out to get one lap in. I tried to do everything on one lap and ended up doing nothing, so that was down to me not managing the situation better. Anyway, tomorrow we have another chance to get in to Q2. This morning when I got back on the bike after riding the Ducati GP18 in Australia, I preferred the feeling although maybe I did miss the engine character, that smoothness of the GP18.”

19th Karel Abraham 2:01.684 (29 laps): “It hasn’t been a bad day today, although it wasn’t perfect either. It is hard to get back on the Ducati GP16 after riding the GP17 because we have the same problems we had before, which we didn’t have with the other bike. Now we have some even bigger issues and now I don’t know if it’s the track conditions here in Malaysia or if it’s me that has got used to the other bike. We know where we are losing time and with this set-up it is going to be difficult to go any faster. My team is working on it and we did improve today, but we need to keep on in the same way to find a couple more tenths because everything is very close.”

Source: Ángel Nieto Team

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story