Mapfre Aprilia’s Alvaro Bautista snuck in a stunning fastest lap in the closing stages of the first qualifying session of the weekend at Donington Park today.
The same top three of Bautista, Hector Barbera and Marco Simoncelli who dominated preceding this morning in FP1 were once again at the top of the timing sheets, all duelling for the provisional top spot.
Between them the three riders have five poles, three coming the way of Bautista, but the 2006 125cc World Champion hasn’t converted a single pole into a race win this year, taking just one 25-point maximum from Estoril at the start of the season.
With nine minutes of the session remaining this afternoon, Marco Simoncelli hit the top with a 1.32.345, but was blown-away by a time from Bautista, who is a hot tip to be riding in MotoGP in 2009, who capitalised in the last five minutes with a scorching time.
The Spaniard set a 1.31.834 in the closing minutes; a ull half a second quicker than Simoncelli’s fastest time.
The closing stages did catch out a couple of riders with Mattia Pasini low-siding at Foggy’s Esses and British wildcard Toby Markham throwing his Yamaha TZ250 down Craner Curves at a rapid pace.
Both riders walked away from their accidents.
British contender Eugene Laverty could only muster 20th position, 2.5 seconds off the leaders’ pace but amongst works machinery.
1. A. BAUTISTA Mapfre Aspar Team 1'31.834
2. M. SIMONCELLI Metis Gilera + 0.170
3. H. BARBERA Team Toth Aprilia + 0.519
4. T. LUTHI Emmi - Caffe Latte + 1.001
5. Y. TAKAHASHI JiR Team Scot 250 + 1.019
6. H. AOYAMA Red Bull KTM 250 + 1.149
7. J. SIMON Repsol KTM 250cc + 1.229
8. A. ESPARGARO Lotus Aprilia + 1.282
9. L. PESEK Auto Kelly – CP + 1.442
10. F. LAI Campetella Racing + 1.447
11. A. DEBON Lotus Aprilia + 1.463
12. M. PASINI Polaris World + 1.468
13. R. LOCATELLI Metis Gilera + 1.545
14. M. KALLIO Red Bull KTM 250 + 1.761
15. M. POGGIALI Campetella Racing + 1.826
16. K. ABRAHAM Cardion AB Motoracing + 2.025
20. E. LAVERTY Bluesens Aprilia +2.451