Recovering from a broken femur and exhausted from Sunday's race, Alvaro Bautista could only ride for 17 laps in Monday's Estoril MotoGP test - but that was enough to give a resounding thumbs up to a new chassis for his GSV-R.
All of Bautista's test laps were done using the same set of tyres and he set a best lap-time of 1min 38.850sec on his final circulation - over a second faster than his best lap in Sunday's race and over three-tenths-of-a-second faster than his qualifying time.
The marked improvement was largely due to a completely new chassis design for the GSV-R, which performed well on initial tests in Japan. Bautista's few laps on the new chassis were enough to convince him that it is a significant improvement and he will use it at the French Grand Prix in two weeks' time.
“My leg was really sore today - as I expected - but it was good enough to do four laps at a time and I really wanted to understand this new chassis, so I have to forget the pain and do some work, this is the life of a racer!” said Bautista, who broke his leg during practice for round one in Qatar just six weeks' ago.
“Anyway, I am happy I tried it because - at least at this track - the step was quite big. The turning of the bike is improved a lot, this means I can open the gas much quicker and improve my corner speed and acceleration.
“The lap-time came a lot more easily with this chassis and when I followed Lorenzo, who was making low 1.38 at this point, we were really similar on the whole lap until we arrived in the slow chicane at the end of the circuit, then he disappeared because it's just too painful to throw the bike through this direction change like I need to.
“But - apart from the actual position in the race [13th and last] - I achieved everything I wanted to here in Estoril so I am happy, and I will be stronger in Le Mans.”
Factory test rider Nobuatsu Aoki took over testing duties once Bautista had finished and ran through a series of electronic control strategy developments, as well as also re-testing the new chassis and positively confirming Bautista's feedback on the improvements.