Alvaro Bautista hopes of completing his and Suzuki's 2011 MotoGP World Championship season in style at Valencia came to an abrupt end after getting embroiled in a first corner collision.
Starting from fifth position, Bautista claims he was clipped by Andrea Dovizioso under braking into the opening bend, sending him down and into the path of Ducati trio Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Randy de Puniet.
A disappointing end to a season that has shown promise, particularly in the second-half, but not always the results, Bautista's disappointment is magnified by the fact Suzuki is still yet to confirm whether or not it will return to MotoGP in 2012 [see separate story].
“It has been a bad way to end the year, because before the race I was expecting to be fighting for the podium,” he said. “In all conditions we had been fast this weekend and I thought we would have a good race today. In the first corner we all arrived together and I was between Andrea and Valentino. Unfortunately Andrea hit my front wheel with his rear tyre and I couldn't do anything to save the crash.
“The worst thing was that I hit three other riders and they crashed as well, I am sorry for them and also sorry for the team and all the fans. This year has been very tough, it didn't start very well when I broke my left femur and although we did a good job – especially in the middle of the season when I was totally fit, both mentally and physically - we haven't finished with that many good results.
“I got more and more confident in the bike as the season went on and the work we have done has been amazing, we have come such a long way. Thanks to Suzuki for all they have done and thanks to my team, they work 100% in all races and I think everybody has been able to see the improvement on the track. Thanks also to everybody that has supported me and Rizla Suzuki in 2011, and now we will have to see what happens for next year.”