Alvaro Bautista made up for his late crash at Qatar by finishing in the top ten, and as the top MotoGP rookie, during round two in Spain on Sunday - in front of his home Spanish fans at Jerez.
Initially struggling with his Rizla Suzuki, Bautista had dropped from 13th to 16th by the end of lap two, but battled through the difficulties and found a good rhythm, to come home as top rookie after passing fellow rookie Marco Simoncelli on the last lap.
“Yes, I have finished my first race in MotoGP!” smiled Bautista. “It was not my best race though, because I didn't start too good and I had a bit of a problem with the bike. It felt like it was pushing me the wrong way in the corners and I couldn't turn in properly like I could in practice. Although the bike was not perfect I tried to get the maximum from it and pushed as hard as I could.
“I got up to the group fighting for seventh to twelfth positions and I was able to pass some of them and that was a good thing. I would like to enjoy riding the bike more, but I am new to this category and it is important to improve the bike before I can do that. Sometimes we go in the right way, but also sometimes we go in the wrong way, so we need to keep trying to improve.
“Tomorrow we have a big test and we will search hard for a solution to make the GSV-R enjoyable to ride. I am happy to finish in the top 10, this is a good result, but I think if the bike was like practice I could have done better,” he added.
Once again, only one GSV-R reached the finish after veteran team-mate Loris Capirossi crashed out of eighth on the last corner of the third lap.
“This morning we tried a different setting in the warm-up and I felt quite confident for this afternoon because of that,” said the Italian. “I started the race quite aggressive and I overtook a few guys – which was good – and the bike was working well, but I crashed on the third lap. In the last corner I braked like normal and flicked the bike in, but I lost the front – I don't know why!
“I tried to pick up the bike to finish the race, but the engine was off so that was the end for me. I feel really sorry for everyone involved because we'd tried a different way to work on the bike and I think we have a good idea how to improve our potential in the future. I want to say sorry because I don't want to crash, but sometimes it happens. We now have a test tomorrow and we can carry on with the direction we found this weekend and try to be more competitive.”