Despite still suffering the effects of a hand injury sustained in the second day of the final pre-season test at Jerez two weeks ago Alvaro Bautista made a promising start to his 2013 campaign in the first free practice session of the Qatar Grand Prix tonight. The Spaniard was sixth fastest and close to the pace set by the guys in front of him, having completed some good set-up work despite the dirty and slippery track conditions. Bryan Staring completed his first laps of the Losail circuit and was also riding under floodlights for the first time, making it a difficult start to life as a MotoGP rider for the Australian rookie.
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“Unfortunately I wasn’t in the best shape tonight because as the laps went by there was more and more pressure on the fingers I broke at Jerez. As usual here in Qatar the track conditions were not ideal on the first night and the first few laps in particular were a struggle but overall it hasn’t been a bad start for us. Hopefully the track improves tomorrow and the changes we have planned for the bike help us make that step forward in quality that will get us closer to the front and help us to improve on last year’s performance here.”
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“There was a lot for me to get used to tonight, a new track and the first time under lights. It wasn’t easy and to be honest I am not really happy because I know that I can ride a lot faster, especially when the track conditions improve. Tonight there was virtually no grip but we have to stay upbeat and keep working with the team to improve the situation.”
“I think we can be satisfied tonight considering that Alvaro is still not in perfect shape after the crash at Jerez. We have work to do, especially because the track conditions were not perfect tonight, but we are confident that we have the margin to improve and we will all be giving our best to do so. For Bryan everything was new tonight and considering how little grip there was he acquitted himself well. Having seen him action and knowing how determined he is I am sure he will take a big step forward tomorrow.”