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Suzuki delighted with Alvaro Bautista's race

Alvaro Bautista leads Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi at the SachsenringSuzuki team boss Paul Denning says Alvaro Bautista's seventh place in Germany was an important step forward and shows that the squad is getting closer to the lead pace.

Bautista defeated the two factory Ducatis to take the position, behind the four factory-specification Hondas and the two works Yamahas - defeat having been left battered by a heavy crash in the warm-up.

"I think we showed this weekend at Sachsenring - a track that has traditionally been very tough for Suzuki - that both the GSV-R and the rider have made good steps in 2011 - despite the bad luck and huge injury at the start of the season," Denning said.

"The high-speed crash that Alvaro suffered at the end of warm-up this morning was not ideal race preparation and it might have had a small effect on his ultimate pace, but nonetheless he dug deep and a rode a very entertaining and aggressive 30 laps."

Denning suggested that had Bautista not had to fight through traffic early on, he might have been able to get among the top six battle.

"Maybe with a better qualifying position which we have to keep working on or with a luckier first couple of laps, he might have been able to tow along on the back of the fastest riders," said the team boss. "We won't know if that could have been the case until we get the opportunity again at Laguna Seca next week.

"It was an incredibly competitive race today, all the top riders finished and we were beaten by only the four factory Hondas and the two factory Yamahas - this weekend has definitely been a step in the right direction."

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