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Alvaro Bautista finished the qualifying sessions at Phillip Island,, riding his Aprilia RS-GP to the eighth best time in Q1 (in 1’30,147), just a half second behind the leader) which earns him 18th overall place and therefore the sixth row on the starting grid for the Australian GP tomorrow. In this decisive session that determines the starting order the Spaniard once again proved to be, as he has been throughout the weekend, faster than Bradl, his Aprilia Racing Team Gresini team mate. Already in the last two free practice sessions, dedicated to finding the best possible race pace, Alvaro had shown progress compared to the Friday sessions. It was more of an uphill battle for Bradl who, although making improvements, struggled to stay close to his team mate and finished qualifiers with the eleventh best time (1’30,634) which places him on the 21st spot and the seventh row of the starting grid for tomorrow.

ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“The team worked above all on improving grip, trying different geometries and chassis setups. Bautista was feeling more comfortable although we still need to work on his race pace. With Stefan, on the other hand, we had a bit more trouble from the start, more than expected I'd say. But even with him there are still a few things to test in order to try to improve for the race.”

“Bautista did well today, performing well in qualifying. If we are able to get off the line well when the lights go out tomorrow he has the potential to stay with the group of riders in front of him. Alvaro still has a bit of difficulty, especially in the last sector of the track, so tomorrow morning in the warm up we'll focus mainly on trying to be more effective in the last two turns. Stefan has been struggling from the beginning of the weekend, so we'll try to help him for the race, also comparing his data with Alvaro's and testing some more adjustments in warm up.”

“I'd say that these were good qualifiers which we finished just a half a second from the time that would have gotten us into Q2 - not bad. If anything there is still some room for improvement on race pace that I would like to make. Today in FP3 and FP4 we lapped well with worn tyres. Up to twenty laps I'm able to maintain a fairly consistent pace and then there is a bit of drop. I can feel spinning so I struggle a bit. Tomorrow we'll use the warm up specifically to work on improving pace. Then in the race it will be important to start well and push hard in the first laps to stay with the group ahead of us.”

“Up to now the weekend has been more difficult than we expected. Today we made some more changes on the bike, looking for more feeling with the rear tyre, but without actually making much progress. All we can do now is keep analysing the data more in depth to find a solution that allows me to be more competitive in the race tomorrow.”

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