Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
“Bautista ends Sepang test as top Independent rider”
Pull&Bear Aspar Team riders Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham leave Malaysia in high spirits after positive three days.
The first test of the MotoGP World Championship preseason concluded today at the Sepang Circuit, with good weather allowing the teams to make the most of the eight hours available. With only four riders able to break the two-minute mark on the previous two days, today no fewer than ten riders managed it, the first of them being Pull&Bear Aspar rider Álvaro Bautista, who posted a 1’59.628 on his tenth lap, with barely an hour elapsed of the session. The rest of the field gradually improved also, with Maverick Viñales eventually setting the bar at 1’59.368 to finish the test ahead of Marc Márquez and Andrea Dovizioso. The next appointment for the MotoGP teams is another preseason test at Phillip Island (Australia), on 15, 16 and 17 February.
Both Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham made a strong start to the day, putting their Pull&Bear Aspar Team machines in first and third position during the early stages. Bautista was the first to break the two-minute mark, clocking three virtually identical consecutive laps as he continued with the strong and consistent pace he has shown throughout this test, finishing up as the best Independent Team rider over the three days in sixth position overall. Karel Abraham posted a 2’00.445 on his eleventh lap on track, improving his previous best from yesterday by half a second. The Czech rider continues to adapt to his new machine and heads home happy after finishing this test as the third fastest Independent Ducati.
6th Álvaro Bautista 1:59.628 (64 laps): “It is like the winter never existed for me, it feels like I just got off the bike after the last test. We’ll see in Australia if the base we have now allows us to be almost at the limit from the very beginning. It is not easy to get under the two-minute mark here, especially on such a new bike for me, with so many improvements still to be made. We have worked hard over the last three days on my rhythm, on trying to be consistent and learning the bike This morning I wanted to push a little harder and I did a bunch of laps under two minutes so I am very happy. I felt good and felt comfortable from the first lap on the first day. Even though the lap times are good I think I still need to work on some details to ride this bike the way it needs to be ridden.”
17th Karel Abraham 2.00.445 (38 laps): “The overall summary of the three days is very positive. I have improved my lap time every day and today we managed a 2’00.445, which I think is faster than we could have expected before we arrived here in Malaysia. It has been three very productive days. We have tested a lot of things and it seems like they have worked, which is a very good feeling. I can head home from Malaysia feeling very happy and looking forwards to continuing my physical training programme now in readiness for the next test.”