MotoGP: Bautista signs off 2016 with fastest time at test

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 Pull & Bear Aspar Ducati new signing Alvaro Bautista has signed off 2016 by topping his final day of testing for the squad at Jerez by finishing top of the MotoGP machines at the Spanish circuit, ahead of fellow Ducati riders Loris Baz and Hector Barbera, but behind fastest man overall Jonathan Rea.

And, with strong pace showing, team boss Jorge Martinez says he’s delighted with where both Bautista and fellow new signing Karol Abraham ended up.

“We took an important step forward with both riders at Jerez, not just in terms of their lap time, which is always nice to see, but also and more importantly their race pace.  They are both able to do a lot of laps on the same tyre and maintain a good pace compared to the race here earlier this year. Race pace is what makes the result in the end and it is what we suffered with most this season. I think we have moved forward with the set-up and the electronics and even though it is early to say because we are just getting to know the new bike and new riders, the results after four days of tests have been good.

“There is a long way to go but we have found a good base and I am really happy with the way both Bautista and Abraham are riding. They are fast and consistent; they are happy with their bikes and confident in their potential for next season. If we keep going like this I think we can have a good season next year. It is a nice way to sign off from this year and we are looking forward to getting started again in Malaysia.”

However, it was a more disappointing test for the Brits present, with Scott Redding a distant eighth as he continues to adapt to the new GP16 Ducati he’ll pilot in 2017, while Sam Lowes has been unable to push on the factory Aprilia as he continues to recover from his Valencia test injuries.

Bradley Smith finished the day second last, but admitted afterwards that while it had been a frustrating day for him (compounded by a crash that dislocated his shoulder), it had been a productive one for his KTM crew as they continue to develop the RC16 machine.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer