Alvaro Bautista’s impressive form continued at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan yesterday when the Spaniard claimed a second podium in the last three races after a close battle with Cal Crutchlow.
Bautista had brilliantly streaked away from reigning world champion Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Stefan Bradl to hunt down Crutchlow and set up a tense finish with the British rider.
San Carlo Gresini Honda Bautista started the final lap with a lead of just 0.3s but his second MotoGP podium was secured in easier fashion than he could have imagined after Crutchlow’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 ran out of fuel at Turn 3 on the final lap.
Bautista’s third capped a great weekend for the former 125GP world champion, who re-signed with the Gresini squad for 2013 after much speculation earlier in the season that his RC213V ride was under threat.
He said: “This has been a great weekend for me getting a podium after re-signing with Gresini. In the race I knew I could fight for the podium because I had the confidence in the bike to push to the maximum.
"I had recovered some positions after a bad start and I was behind Cal and I saw we were more or less at the same pace.
"I stayed behind a little because we had some brake problems with temperature and I was losing some braking power, so I tried to conserve the brakes and with five laps to go I attacked. We fought for a couple of laps and at the end I got my second podium so I'm happy."
With Crutchlow cruelly forced to retire on the last lap, Bautista moved into fifth place in the championship standings but he said he wasn’t too bothered about the final rankings.
He added: “This was good for my place in the championship but my target is to be competitive in every race.
"The most important thing for me is to enjoy the races and in the future if I have the chance to fight for the world championship I will pay attention to the classification. But for now it is not a lot of meaning.”
For more from the Japanese Grand Prix, see the October 17 issue of Motor Cycle News.