Estoril : 125cc - Day One
Sun is shining this weekend at Estoril, for the return of the MotoGP World Championship in Europe.
The 125cc riders were, as usual, the first on duty and took to the recently resurfaced Portuguese circuit at 9 o'clock local time.
celebrating his World title conquered overseas, Alvaro Bautista got a good start aboard the brand new Gigi Dall'Igna-designed Aprilia, setting the fastest time ( 1'49''450) of the first practice session.
The Spaniard, who had declared himself impressed by his new bike last week, finished ahead of Julian Simon (KTM), Mattia Pasini (Aprilia) and Mika Kallio (KTM).
Fifth was Derbi rider Lukas Pesek while Mike di Meglio, lapping seventh fastest, turned out to be the highest-ranked Honda rider. In the meantime, former World Champion Thomas Luthi came disappointingly out of the top twenty.
It was quite the same story in the afternoon qualifying session with Bautista, Simon and Kallio battling it hard for the provisional pole. The World Champion eventually got the best with a fastest lap time of 1'46''493.
Kallio qualified second, ahead of Mattia Pasini and Gabor Talmacsi, the best Honda rider of the day. Though he was holding pole position with two minutes to go, Julian Simon saw himself relegated to sixth in the very last seconds of the session.
The KTM rider shares the provisional second row with Lukas Pesek (Derbi), Héctor Faubel (Aprilia) and Fabrizio Lai (Honda Seedorf). British rookie Bradley Smith took twelfth.
In what turned out to be a tough day for him, Thomas Luthi ended with the nineteenth fastest time. Not really where you would expect a former World Champion to be.
The Italian rider Simone Grotzkyj didn't take part to the session.
Sandrine BOUCHARD © CAPSIS International