Friday at Phillip Island has smiled on Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista. Yes, because having set the second fastest time during the morning, the Spaniard went one better come the afternoon, beating Rea by just 0.014 of a second. Race 1 is gearing up to be an exciting one that's for sure, set to get underway at 5am CET.
“I'm really pleased with how Friday's gone, as we've worked really well, making some changes to the bike - begins Alvaro – unfortunately we weren't able to find anything better with respect to the test, and so we went back to the previous configuration. I also tested the new tyre that Pirelli has brought and found it consistent”.
Barbier revealed that you will probably use it for race 1.
“I like the new front tyre and it offers good stability. The grip might be a little worse, but I feel stable. I'll be the only one using it but I'm convinced. The front has a bearing of course, but only so much”.
Did you think you'd be so competitive in Australia?
“No. What is important is that we've worked in the right direction. It's the first time that I feel as one with the Panigale V4. I think I'm in a good situation for Saturday”.
Is Bautista the favourite at Phillip Island?
“Johnny is number one and he is the man to beat, nothing has changed. I'm still number 19, and I'll go out on track with the same mentality as always. While sensations count during practice, it's all much simpler in the race, as you only have to push and don't have to think about anything else”.
It's your first SBK race weekend, does that give you added motivation?
“No, I'll race as I always have. If there is chance to fight for the win, I'll do so, and if that's not possible then the podium”.
What point has the V4 project reached?
“We haven't had to make any particular changes these days. There are some ideas that will have a bearing on development of course, but we'll evaluate those during the next rounds”.
Davies was playing catch up today. Do you feel like it's you against the two Kawasakis?
“No, as I have the whole team behind me. I'm sorry for Chaz, as his physical problems mean he's not 100%. I hope he's soon better and can help me in the future”.