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Friday, March 02, 2012

Bautista takes 'big step forward' at Sepang


San Carlo Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista bounced back from a minor spill in the morning to claim the seventh fastest time on his RC213V at Sepang.

Bautista bit the dust at turn eight on cold tyres but escaped unhurt and switched to his second machine to continue testing.

He made the most of the dry weather to complete a total of 51 laps and feels he has taken a 'big step forward' ahead of the final test at Jerez in Spain later this month.

Bautista, whose best lap of 2m 01.275s was 0.802s behind pace-setter Casey Stoner on the factory Repsol Honda, said: “I am satisfied because we were finally able to get a full day under our belt after being here for two days already and only managing to get out on track for the first morning.

“Obviously it was a tough day because we had to pack everything in, so we started out first thing this morning and only took a short break at the hottest part of the day. We worked mainly on adapting to the 1000cc bike and even though I was tired by the end of the day I was satisfied with our progress.

“Unfortunately I made a mistake on my first lap of one run when the tyres were still not up to temperature and ran wide onto the astroturf and then had a small crash. Luckily I wasn't hurt and we were able to continue working on the other bike, mainly with suspension settings, and putting together a decent rhythm,” he added.

“I am happy though because we have taken a big step forward and closed the gap to the top guys. We know we still have a long way to go but I am confident because the relationship with the team is great and I know we will make more progress in the next test at Jerez.”

World Superbikes winner MSMW2012