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Bautista reflects on 'difficult year'

Talks were also opened with LCR Honda, who were so keen to gain Bautista's signature that they entered into a 'gentlemen's agreement' to wait for Suzuki's decision, set up by Suzuki's Project Manager.

Tragically, another door opened.

The passing of Marco Simoncelli in Sepang, where Suzuki had been due to make an announcement, meant that a bike better financed and with superior results to the LCR became available in the most tragic of circumstances.

The level of Bautista's support from Honda is yet to be revealed. Simoncelli was contracted to HRC directly and was to receive full factory support. Bautista looks unlikely to receive this as he is under contract to Gresini.

The 26-year-old is also uncomfortable with the idea of being seen as some kind of successor to Simoncelli.

“I hate to say that I inherited Simoncelli's bike," he told "It was a tragic accident for everyone. Gresini had two riders Marco and Hiroshi Aoyama. I will work with the mechanics of Hiroshi, not with the team of Marco. But it is true that maybe I'm here because of what has happened, but I do not take his place.”

Bautista also admits that changing teams has made setting 2012 goals harder.

"I've changed motorcycle and team, I have to start working with them, get used to the bike and change the way I ride. It is difficult to set goals. I go step by step, feel comfortable and work well with the team and do my best," he told

The last time he rode a Honda was back in 2005 in the 125cc class, the year before he won the championship on an Aprilia with the Aspar Team.

This week Bautista paid tribute to Suzuki, following the announcement that they will withdraw from MotoGP for at least two seasons, taking to Twitter to say that they were a great team and adding “We will miss blue bikes on the track.”

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Paddles - Unregistered

November 19, 2011 8:59 PM

the suzuki was never a bad bike, it just needed setting up right and it's a pity that it took AB and the engineering team to get themselves up on the pace in order to sort it out. anyhow, it's all history now and good luck on the honda AB. one thing that don't like is how suzuki dragged this thing out making it difficult for it's employees (including AB) to get other jobs, that's krap i reckon. AB was loyal enough to pin his hopes on suzuki and if the Simoncelli accident hadn't occurred, AB would have been struggling to get a manufacturer ride for next year. i reckon suzuki have treated their employees poorly.

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