Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham complete close to forty laps each on last day in Thailand, after putting in more than 150 on the first two days
The MotoGP World Championship concluded another preseason test this Sunday. The first ever run at the Buriram track in Thailand, which received a great welcome from the local fans, had a third and final day of action –the last there until the weekend of the October 6th Grand Prix. Dani Pedrosa, Johann Zarco and Marc Márquez were the only riders able to break the 1:30 barrier. The first two even lowered the time set by Márquez yesterday, to set an unofficial circuit record of 1:29.781. Behind them, Cal Crutchlow was two tenths off Pedrosa’s time. The MotoGP riders will be back in the saddle on March 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Qatar, for the final preseason test before the start of the 2018 season.
The Ángel Nieto Team riders completed the second preseason test with a day in which they put in close to 40 laps each. Álvaro Bautista closed the test with a best Sunday time of 1:31.486, after an electrical problem ended his work prematurely. The Spaniard was not able to lower the 1:30.883 he set yesterday and was seventeenth in the combined timesheet for the three days. Bautista leaves Thailand happy, although he admits that he has not yet found the limit with his new bike.
Karel Abraham, who put in 38 laps to add to a total of 154 from the first two days, was also unable to best his Saturday time of 1:31.661. The Czech rider ends the Thai test in twenty-third position and with the goal of continuing his progress at the Qatar test, before the start of the season in the Arab country on the weekend of March 18th.
20th Álvaro Bautista 1:31.486 (37 laps):
“We have greatly improved in the rear, without worsening things with the front. In Sepang we took a step forward and another here, and we have not reached the limit yet. This is a bike that, unlike GP16, gives me a lot of confidence; I am more comfortable with it. It seems a more secure bike. Also, if another rider with the same bike can set competitive times, why can’t we? We are in good shape, and we’ll see if in Qatar we can take another step forward as we have done so far. It has been a positive three day and I am happy. Yesterday afternoon we found a setup that made me feel better on the bike and I felt very comfortable. I set a good time with the medium rear tyre, which is usually something that I find hard. We gained a lot of grip. However, with the extra soft tyre I had even more grip and I couldn’t take advantage of its potential, but it could have greatly improved my lap time. This morning, when the conditions were theoretically a little better than yesterday, I lost all that grip and I was not able to ride like I had yesterday. Little by little, when the temperature rose, I started to get better. It’s strange because the opposite happened to me before. We took data from both conditions and we have a lot to learn from. In the morning we weren’t been able to do more laps because we ran out of fuel; we hadn’t expected to ride as much as we did yesterday and on Friday. In the afternoon, as soon as I went out I felt great on the bike, had good grip and set my best lap of the day, without forcing it. We wanted to try a race simulation, but on the second lap we had a problem on the bike and I could not go back out. We have work to do and data to analyse. I’m happy, although we have not been able to do all we had planned.”
24th Karel Abraham 1:32.024 (38 laps): “Today has been a difficult day. We found it hard to go faster. I don’t know what that is down to, but we need to lower our time by at least a second. We have to work to improve in Qatar. We must prepare ourselves to the fullest for the test and, obviously, for the race.”