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Alvaro Bautista: D
The only team to have one rider on a factory bike and another on a CRT machine, Go & Fun Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista is heading into his second season with the formerly San Carlo-backed squad.
Bautista is also the only satellite or factory team rider using Showa suspension, the rest choosing Ohlins.
The majority of the grid uses Ohlins because it is superior, plain and simple. Bautista has recently expressed his unhappiness with the Showa suspension on his RC213V, but his complaints fell on deaf ears.
It is possible that team owner Fausto Gresini truly believes the Showa suspension puts his rider on a level playing field with the rest of the bikes or maybe even gives him an advantage.
It is also possible, considering Honda owns a controlling interest in Showa, that Bautista is being put at a distinct disadvantage in the interest of perpetuating the Showa brand.
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
Bautista's three days in Sepang were largely spent focusing on suspension set up (per Speed.com):
[W]e continued with the job of setting up the Showa suspension. We are making progress, but we still have a lot of work to do and our aim remains to have everything ready for the season start in Qatar. We have gathered a lot of data that we will use at the next test here in Sepang at the end of the month.
He finished the weekend seventh fastest, 1.4 seconds behind pacesetter Dani Pedrosa. In the coming tests, we can use those 1.4 seconds as a benchmark to gauge his team's progress in setting up the Showa suspension, or the ability of said suspension to compete with Ohlins.
If that number doesn't get considerably smaller by the time the first race of the season rolls around, it will lend some credence to the Honda/Showa conspiracy theory.