Catalunya MotoGP: Alvaro Bautista jubilant with top five
Alvaro Bautista produced the big shock of the Catalunya MotoGP race after he claimed a career best fifth in front of his home crowd.
Dogged by lingering shoulder injury and a struggling factory Suzuki GSV-R in the opening third of the season, Bautista was also in contention for his maiden top six finish in the premier class.
Seventh for the opening 13 laps of the 25-lap clash, the former world 125GP world champion moved into the top six San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli crashed out on lap 15.
And he gleefully accepted fifth spot when Andrea Dovizioso lost control of his factory Repsol Honda just a lap later.
Bautista produced a determined late attack despite coming under sever pressure from Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies in the final three laps and he said: “I am very happy because this fifth position is like winning the race after the last few races we’ve had. We really needed this result, for me, for my team and especially for Suzuki.
"I was very strong all weekend and was confident that I could do a good race here. I was very concentrated at the start because I knew if I could start well I could stay with the group in front.
"I did that, but I did have a bit of a problem in the race with the hard-braking places because I didn’t feel that the bike was entering the corners like in the practice. I got a good rhythm in the race and tried to control what was going on behind me and go for a good result.
"In the last laps I saw that Spies was coming very fast and I tried to push a bit more, but the rear tyre was used up and I couldn’t do any more, so I rode tight for the last lap to make sure I got fifth position.”