2011 Portugal MotoGP
Forty-two days after breaking his left femur at the season opener in Qatar, Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista is planning his return to 2011 MotoGP, hoping to race at Estoril this weekend.
The Spaniard Bautista has shown promise during an intense physiotherapy program, which he hopes will have him in shape for the opening practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix this Friday. When Bautista arrives at the MotoGP track, he will have a full medical evaluation to determine if he’s fit to ride.
Rizla Suzuki says “If he is unable to ride at a competitive level, Rizla Suzuki will have Factory test rider Nobuatsu Aoki on stand-by to take over if he has to withdraw from the event – but Bautista’s clear target is to compete in the Grand Prix.”
As for the sole Suzuki bike in the 2011 MotoGP field, the Rizla GSV-R will feature a new logo: “Change and Challenge.” This logo is from the Asian Suzuki market, and Rizla hopes to engage with all the MotoGP fans from that region. Rizla says “it appreciates all the support of Bautista as he undertakes what is certainly a huge ‘challenge’ in his comeback from serious injury.”
Rizla Suzuki says Bautista plans to take to the MotoGP track on Friday morning for the first of two free-practice sessions. Saturday will see a final practice in the morning, followed by an hour-long qualifying session in the afternoon where he aims to be MotoGP qualifying for the best grid position he can obtain.
Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R) says: “I have been working very hard to be back in time for Estoril and I believe I will be able to take part in the race. I know it will be difficult, but I think the sooner I can get on the bike the more it will aid my total recovery and help my way to full fitness.
“I have traveled over 4,500km with many journeys to the hyperbaric chamber in Madrid to assist with my healing – I have been there so many times I could close my eyes and go without problems! I have now finished the rehabilitation phase and started on the physical preparation; this involves a lot of swimming, cycling and other fitness programs to build up the strength so I can ride again.
“It is going to be really tough, but I am totally focused on being on the GSV-R in Portugal, it’s all I can think about at the moment and that is my first goal. After that we’ll see what happens and take everything one step at a time.”
After breaking his leg at Qatar, Bautista missed that MotoGP round and his home-race in Jerez. During the Jerez MotoGP event, the American John “Hopper” Hopkins substituted for Bautista, and finished 10th.
The Estoril circuit is a MotoGP track of contrasts, where some fast corners in its 13-turn configuration mix with an almost kilometer-long straight and one of the slowest sections of the year. Situated on a rocky outcrop high above the towns of Estoril and Cascais, the circuit is only six kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean and this can give rise to some very changeable weather, a fact that was emphasized in 2010 when torrential rain caused the cancellation of the qualifying session.
Estoril is Round 3 of 18 in the 2011 MotoGP Championship.