It was a positive first day of testing all round for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini at Jerez today. Alvaro Bautista escaped unhurt from an early crash to put together 56 laps over the course of the day, clocking a best time of 1’40.545 but working above all on finding a consistent rhythm. There was also a positive CRT debut for the team’s Honda CBR1000R powered machine, especially considering that its only previous track outing was a basic shakedown test at Imola.

Alvaro Bautista (56 laps — 7th 1’40.545) “Today went well on a track with very different characteristics to Malaysia, especially considering that I haven’t ridden Jerez for a couple of years and I’d forgotten how close all the corners are to each other! We worked a lot on the electronics in terms of power delivery and anti-wheelie, which is an important issue at this track. I had a little crash this morning that cost us a little time but in the afternoon we put a good rhythm together around the 1’40.5 mark and tried two different Bridgestone front tyres which gave me a lot of feel. The new tyres are a lot better than the ones we had been using and that’s important for confidence in corner entry. Overall I am happy because we have improved with every outing and finished the day with a good pace. My confidence with the bike is growing, the team is working really well and as I said before we’re on the right lines. Obviously we’re going to need a little time to take the next step but I think we’ll be ready for the first race.”

Michele Pirro (48 laps — 17th 1’ 42” 655) “The Imola session was nothing serious so today was really the first outing for this bike. We have worked very hard to find where our limits are right now and the biggest issue is with the front end, which is limiting our corner entry speed. Having said that we have to be more than satisfied because the bike is only a few hours old and we’re measuring up to the rest, apart from De Puniet. It was also a bit of a debut for me, with so many new things such as Bridgestone tyres, which I have never ridden before. We can be happy and even though we have a lot of work ahead of us I have great faith in the team and I am sure that with the data we have gathered we can take another step forward.”

Fausto Gresini “We have to be happy with the first day of testing here with Alvaro not too far from the front and with plenty of margin for improvement. Obviously the crash was a setback and without it he could possibly have ended the day faster but we have to take into consideration the fact that Alvaro hasn’t ridden here for two years so he needed time to get into his rhythm. Once again his working method has proven to be in line with that of the team and I think we will see the results of that over the next couple of days. It was a day of debuts for the CRT bike and Michele and we also have to view that positively. We did a lot of laps on a very young bike, which had some natural teething problems but showed good potential right from the first outing. The challenge is underway and I think it has started in the best possible way.”