Alvaro Bautista ended the first day of testing at Jerez de La Frontera in sixth position in the combined standings. A very good start to the weekend for Team HRC.
With round nine having concluded just days ago at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, Team HRC is now back in action at the Jerez Circuit, the stage for this weekend’s tenth Superbike World Championship round.
Factory rider Alvaro Bautista started the weekend on a very positive note, making good progress throughout the day’s sessions. In the first ti,e session, finished in twelfth place (1’41.173).
In second practice, which ran mid-afternoon in ideal conditions (air 23°, track 31°C), the factory Honda riders really began to step things up. Bautista set a 1’40.349. These references assured the Team HRC rider of a place towards the top of the timesheets, with only a couple of other riders able to do better. This meant that in the combined standings, Bautista finished in a good sixth position.
Alvaro suffered a very fast crash at turn 11 towards the end of the 45-minute phase, which prevented him from further improving on his lap time, but fortunately he was totally unhurt in the fall and will be more than ready to recommence the work tomorrow morning.
“For sure we started with very good feedback from the bike. This morning, I tried a different rear compound specification that Pirelli has brought, but I didn’t feel very comfortable. In the afternoon I used the rear tyre that we raced with at Barcelona and I definitely felt much better. We also tried the new front specification and I’m happy because through some corners I found that I could brake harder and keep a better line. I felt strong and could lap quite consistently. But we don’t have so many of those tyres so for the final run we went with a used front and fit a new rear. During my fastest lap, I felt the rear pushing in the final sector and I lost the front through quite a fast corner. Luckily I’m absolutely fine, but I missed out on the chance to further improve my lap time. Anyway, a very good start to the weekend, and having two Hondas in the top six is great. We need to see how the weather is tomorrow because we expect higher temperatures and we want to understand how the new tyre specifications behave in hotter conditions”