Rizla Suzuki had its promising start to the weekend shattered at Brno on Saturday when Hopkins was forced to withdraw and Bautista had a difficult qualifying session.
Álvaro Bautista will start from the fifth row of the grid after he failed to make a competitive lap time. He displayed a consistent race pace and was able to stay with other riders in the earlier part of the qualifying session, but was unable to put together a fast lap to move him up the grid as the session came to its climax.
Hopkins was forced to withdraw from the weekend’s event following a crash in the morning’s wet practice session. It has been confirmed that he broke three fingers on his right hand. He will remain at Brno to support the team before returning to the US on Monday for surgery on his hand.
Álvaro Bautista: “I am not happy with the qualifying because we just didn’t get our best level today and we will have to start tomorrow near the back of the grid. My rhythm was not too bad when I followed other riders, and I could stay with them, but to be able to do that in the race I have to make a good start again tomorrow and fight my way through. I can’t say much more because I am just not happy with how things went today.
John Hopkins: “Disappointed is the only word that can sum up how I feel! I must apologise to the whole team for making such a stupid mistake out there this morning. It was the smallest crash under braking in the wet conditions and as I slid along I kept my hand on the ground to try and slow me down, but as soon as I hit the gravel it went in and mangled my hand. I’ve fractured three fingers on my right hand. The index and middle finger are just normal fractures that probably wouldn’t have kept me off the bike, but the third finger has separated and split down the middle from the knuckle. I can’t bend the finger or both bones could come through the skin, so it would have been impossible to hold on to the bike. p><“I think things went very well yesterday and I had every intention of being able to make another step forward today. I wish I could have gone out and achieved a good result and shown Suzuki they have a really good machine with great potential.”