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Alvaro Bautista hoping WorldSBK title defence is back on as confidence returns

Gold & Goose

Alvaro Bautista says ‘step by step’ his confidence and feeling with the Aruba.it Racing Ducati is returning after posting his first win of the 2024 WorldSBK season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Spaniard - a runaway champion for the second successive year in 2023 - romped to a record 28 wins en route to back-to-back successes, Bautista’s performance advantage such that he remained a strong favourite to make a hat-trick coming into the new season.

However, after his winter preparations were hindered by a neck injury, Bautista has struggled to find his usual devastating turn of pace both in qualifying and race trim.


Nevertheless, save for a fall during the opening race of the season at Phillip Island, Bautista has slugged out strong results during the first two rounds, culminating in him taking victory during Race 2 in Spain.

At a circuit where he was arguably at his most dominant in 2023, though Bautista qualified poorly, he fought to the front in Race 1 and the Superpole Race, even if he was - unusually - pipped to victory by Toprak Razgatlioglu at the very final corner in the latter.

“I enjoyed that battle with all the guys a lot,” he said. “I just missed the win in the last corner. I knew Toprak was going to try, which ever line I took! I tried to close it a little bit but not too much because I thought, ‘if I go on the inside kerb, he’ll go over the kerb’. 

“In the end, I tried to manage but he entered to pass me rather than taking the corner. In any case, I was happy with the performance. When everyone is pushing, starting from further back was hard. I could take the lead on the last lap at Turn 1.”

From the front row of the grid for Race 2, Bautista tussled it out with new team-mate Nicolo Bulega for victory, with experience eventually winning out for the ex-MotoGP rider.

“In Race 2, I changed tyre choice on the grid. I did the sighting lap with the X tyre and the feeling was much better. It worked. In the first laps, I was very slow, but no one passed me! 

“When I saw Nico pass me, I thought it was normal. I kept calm. When I caught him again, I thought it was possible to keep that pace until the end, so I took the lead. 

“I could be very precise with my riding, concentrated all race, so I’m happy with the win and the way we won. Step by step, my confidence and feeling with the bike is coming.”

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