Sepang MotoGP Day 3: Aoki for Bautista

Sepang MotoGP Test 1

Rizla Suzuki has completed the first MotoGP test of 2011 in positive spirits, even though Alvaro Bautista was unable to take part in the final day of testing at Sepang due to illness.

Bautista had two successful days at the Malaysian GP circuit, recording his fastest ever time over the 5,548m track and evaluating a huge amount of new and updated parts for the Suzuki GSV-R racing motorcycle.

The second-year MotoGP rider managed to make one short run on the final day, but came back to the pit-box and had to stop riding due to severe stomach cramps that had affected him all test and got worse. Bautista returned to the Rizla team’s hotel and although he came back to the track later in the day, he was unable to resume riding.

Back-up motorcycle test rider Nobuatsu Aoki took over Bautista’s riding duties for the rest of the test and was able to do the final assessments of the latest specification engine, as well as chassis tests and comparisons of different engine maps and electronics.

His input and data will be very useful as the Suzuki MotoGP Team now return to the factory to continue the development of the machine in time for the start of the ’11 season. Honda’s Marco Simoncelli recorded the fastest time.

Rizla Suzuki and Bautista will next be in action at another three-day test in Malaysia, which gets underway on Tuesday Feb. 22. The first round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship is scheduled for Sunday March 20 at Losail in Qatar.

Álvaro Bautista (2011 Suzuki GSV-R) says: "I am not feeling well at all, I have a constant feeling of sickness and it hasn’t improved all day. I tried to ride the bike this morning; I really wanted to use the good track conditions and try to do my first 2’00 minute lap-time of Sepang!

"But immediately I made the first lap, the physical effort made the sickness worse and it was just impossible. So, I must say sorry to the team and I am also very disappointed for myself. But the guys keep reminding me that there are no points or prizes for today’s lap-times, and we made a lot of work in the last two days, so I guess it’s not a big problem.

"Also, Nobu did a good job and tested a lot of stuff so I hope this helps me next time. Anyway, I am really happy about the potential in the 2011 Suzuki and with my team – I can’t wait to come back in a couple of weeks."

Paul Denning (2011 Suzuki GSV-R Team Manager) says: "Despite today’s physical problems for Álvaro we have to be satisfied with the work we’ve got through, especially considering that it was raining so heavily for a few days before the test.

"It’s difficult for us to draw big conclusions – because the Suzuki has always shown good potential in Malaysia – so the guys have been very careful to make sure that all the test results are related as much as possible to improving the areas we need to rather than looking for the ultimate Sepang setting.

"This meant a lot of work on old tires and a lot of laps! Alvaro was awesome on the first two days and is starting to look like he really owns the bike now; we all know he’s a racer rather than a tester so the lap-times are encouraging.

"Nobu stepped in today and did a lot of very detailed work, so the day certainly hasn’t been wasted. Thanks to him and the full team – it’s been a tough winter for everyone at Rizla Suzuki, but we’re all very committed to doing the best we possibly can in 2011."

2011 MotoGP Official Test Sepang (Day Three)

1. Marco Simoncelli (Honda RC212V) 2’00.757: 2. Casey Stoner (Honda RC212V) +0.054: 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha M1) +0.088: 4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda RC212V) +0.188: 5. Ben Spies (Yamaha M1) +0.245

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