Alvaro Bautista's final test before making his Gresini Honda MotoGP debut was marred by two falls, denying him the opportunity to complete his testing programme.
The former Suzuki rider finished the test in ninth place, 1.2sec from leader Casey Stoner (Honda).
“It hasn't been a great day for us,” admitted the Spaniard. “We started out well and tried some interesting electronic solutions this morning, as well as two different Bridgestone tyres, to try and work out which gave me the most confidence.
“Then in the afternoon we were doing a race simulation when I crashed not once but twice, when the front let go without warning. I still don't know what happened exactly and naturally that damaged my confidence in the front and I couldn't push to the limit as I would have liked.”
“Two crashes for Alvaro was perhaps a bit much today but when you are trying to get confident with a new bike and find your pace these things can happen,” added team manager Fausto Gresini.
Despite the incidents, Bautista was able to record a near race-simulation (see below).
“It is a shame because he didn't manage full race distance, but over 20 laps [race distance is 27 laps] his pace was good and only half a second off the top guys,” said Gresini. “So overall it has been a positive test even though Alvaro won't be completely satisfied because he would have preferred to finish it in a different way.
“We have a gap to make up but we should be able to close it in the opening Grand Prix of the season and I am looking forward to it.”
Despite suffering 'the worst afternoon of the pre-season' Bautista is looking forward to his RC213V race debut.
“Racing at night in Qatar is not easy but I still feel confident even after the worst afternoon of pre-season testing,” he said. “My feeling with the team is perfect and I am sure they will help me to recover the confidence I lost today.”
Bautista finished the two previous MotoGP tests, at Sepang, in ninth and seventh.
Bautista's Jerez test race simulation:
Average (20 flying laps): 1m 41.336s
Average (19 flying laps, 1m 47s removed): 1m 40.998s