If the Aprilia camp will long remember the Motegi round, at Phillip Island it was certainly nothing to write home about. An uphill weekend from the start for Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl, who went to Australia without even having tested there over the winter.
In the end, the Spaniard had to settle for twelfth place ahead of Yonny Hernandez. It had been since the Brno race that he hadn’t finished outside the top ten. Now he needs to make up four points on Scott Redding.
"This was definitely not an easy weekend. I was never able to practice on the dry track except in the warmup this morning, where I did not have a good feeling. It felt like I was riding on ice. At the start, I did not know what to expect. We made a few changes to the bike that improved my confidence, especially with the rear tyre.”
A complicated Sunday.
“Toward the end I battled with a few riders, having fun in the duel with Hernandez, despite the fact that I was not at 100% like in recent races. It was a strange weekend for everyone, but we were able to bring home some points anyway. "
Things went better, in a manner of speaking, for his teammate, Stefan Bradl. The German finished ahead of the Spaniard, taking eleventh place for the first time this season after his top ten at Aragón and Motegi
“After the warmup session I had some doubts. Last year we had struggled and it seemed like it could be a repeat of that situation, since I had big grip problems. We made a lot of changes before the race and 27 laps later, I can say that I am satisfied.”
What was missing?
“We finished in the points and our times were good. I was unable to attack the riders ahead of me because our gearbox was a bit short, so in the straight I struggled to stay in the slipstream. In any case, eleventh place is still a good result. I am leaving for Malaysia looking at the positive sides of this strange weekend."