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Bautista takes podium momentum to Aragon
25 September 2012
Alvaro Bautista heads for this weekend's Aragon MotoGP full of confidence after claiming his first premier-class podium last time at Misano.
The breakthrough result also means the Spaniard is now just four points from Cal Crutchlow and fifth place in the world championship standings.
Bautista, who claimed his first pole earlier this year, then suffered a mid-season slump after colliding with Jorge Lorenzo at Assen, credits the Gresini team for finding set-up improvements on his Honda.
“The team did a great job at Misano in the only dry session we had available to find a good setting for the bike and even improve it from what we had at Brno,” he said.
“I struggled a little bit to get into my rhythm at the start and lost a few position, but once I felt I could push the bike I was able to recover all the way back up to third.
“I even tried to attack Valentino for second but my confidence in the front end still wasn't quite 100% so I decided not to risk a crash and to hang on for a podium.
“At the end I was happy with the result but also with the way the bike was working.
“It was a special weekend for the whole team and thanks to them I was able to deliver a fantastic result. It was my first podium in MotoGP and we were able to celebrate it all together.
“Now after the race at Misano I can go into my next home round feeling confident and highly motivated. We didn't have such a good time in the test here after the Barcelona race but with the steps we have made with the bike since then I hope things are different this weekend.
“Aragon hasn't been bad to me over the past couple of years so I hope that on Sunday I can be involved in the fight for the podium again, although it won't be easy. We'll work hard in practice to find the best possible setting to adapt to the track.”
With Jonathan Rea staying in WSBK, Bautista looks ever more likely to retain his Gresini seat for 2013.
Team principal Fausto Gresini was certainly a happy man after Misano: “Finally I enjoyed myself at the last race and we were able to secure a result that could prove important to our future. It was so exciting to see our colours on the podium again!
“Alvaro did a great job and judged the race perfectly, rebuilding his confidence in the front end of the bike and pushing with decision at the right time. Showa's engineers also did a great job.”
Bautista's CRT riding team-mate Michele Pirro also performed well at Misano, claiming tenth place and just four seconds from the top CRT rider.
“Misano was a fantastic and exciting weekend with all the events organised for Marco [Simoncelli] and the result has given me a lot of confidence,” he said.
“We started from scratch at Misano with the goal of making a strong finish to the championship and I am confident we can continue in the same way from here.
“We have closed the gap to the top CRTs and I am confident that in the next rounds we can be fighting to be ahead of them. I like Aragon a lot and I actually made my debut with Team Gresini here in Moto2 a couple of years ago. ”
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