Alvaro Bautista's performance at Phillip Island did not go unnoticed by a certain Marco Melandri, the Italian going as far as to say he thinks the Ducati rider is the race 1 favourite: “I think Alvaro will run his own race, I don't think Johnny will have his pace. Rea is definitely competitive, but Bautista makes the difference with the used tyres”.
Race predictions aside, Melandri sums up his Friday.
"It wasn't the Friday I was expecting. We tried something different to what we had on Tuesday, but we realised we'd gone down the wrong path. So we need to take a step back. Unfortunately we lost grip and the R1 wasn't turning any more. We worked on weight distribution to try and resolve the problem but it wasn't useful. The soft rear tyre that Pirelli brought didn't work either”.
What's the main issue to be resolved?
“It's a combination of factors, unfortunately we're still struggling. I worked to safeguard the tyres, but I can't be fast. At this point, we need to try and take the good from Tuesday and move in a definitive direction. FP3 will be critical for us”.
How do you feel ahead of race 1?
“The standings are looking black for now, we can rip it up, but things might change. We'll need to start over, aware that we can get close to fighting for the podium. Perhaps better weather conditions might mix things up.”