Alvaro Bautista made a solid start to the San Marino MotoGP with eighth and seventh during Friday's free practice sessions.

The Rizla Suzuki rider suffered a big engine failure along the home straight early in the afternoon, but returned to try a new swing-arm on his GSV-R.

The Spaniard finished the day one-second behind fastest man Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)

"I think we did a good job today!" said Bautista. "This morning we started at the same sort of pace that we had in qualifying last year, so that gave us a good base to begin with for the weekend.

"We wanted to test a new swinging arm in the second session and I started on the bike with the standard setting, but after three laps my engine said 'stop!' and I couldn't continue with that bike, so I jumped on the other machine - with the new swinging arm.

"The feeling was good and we were able to turn a little bit better in the corners and this is good because this is what we wanted to improve. I think we have made a step forward and now I am sure we can improve the lap-time and the rhythm. We are not so far from the first place and I am quite happy about that."

Team manager Paul Denning insisted the engine loss was not a major blow.

"Unfortunately we lost our first engine of the year - there was definitely no hiding from that!" he said of the smoke cloud. "But it was very much a Friday engine that had already covered a lot of miles so it wasn't completely unexpected. We'll just keep pushing and try to improve tomorrow, and then something special in qualifying."

Sunday's 28-lap race it will see Bautista and the GSV-R sport a one-off limited edition 'Rizla Micron' livery.


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