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Jerez WorldSBK test: Bautista breaks silence on new Honda

Alvaro Bautista had his first public test and crash on the all-new full HRC Honda at Jerez, but it was not conducted in ideal weather conditions for him or his team-mate Leon Haslam.

Bautista said that dry track time would be needed to continue on the ideal development path.

“For sure to have days like this is not easy for testing, especially in the phase we are in now, starting with a new bike,” Bautista told bikesportnews.com. “We have to make a lot of development. In these conditions it is more difficult. But I am very happy because Honda has been working very well in the winter and has made a good effort.


"Today was the first time in the wet conditions so that was important to get some data. We need to make more kilometres in dry conditions to develop the bike.”

Once it dries out – if it ever dries out in a wicked winter for weather in Iberia – Bautista is looking for general data and improvements.

“It is difficult to say because we start with no reference, so we start to write the book, basically. Also for me, this is a very different compared to the bike I used in the past; I always used the V-four engine and this is an inline-four. I have to adapt also my riding style a little bit and understand the strong points of this kind of engine. In general we have to find a good base to find a good way to work.”

When asked about the electronics on what is a very different bike and team set-up for Honda in 2020, Bautista stated, “In the wet I did not make many laps, but basically working all normally. Nothing special, no big problems, we just have to check everything and find a good base. For all things in general.”

Bautista confirmed that as he had no reference on the old Fireblade, it was all about the new bike and new settings in Jerez. “I do not know, sincerely, because I did not try the old Fireblade, just this one, and I think it is very different - one bike from the other.

At the moment I am not looking for other data. We have to concentrate in ourselves and try to develop this bike. I think Honda is working very well and very hard. I think the potential of the bike is quite high. It is difficult to make a comparison. For me the main thing is the engine character is the difference.

"I did not make a lot of kilometres yet so is difficult to say what are the aspects of the bike that I like more. I was very surprised with the engine power because I expected less. But the engine is really strong and I did not expect that power. You can have a lot of power but if you cannot use all, it is for nothing. So we are working to put everything in order for the bike to use all the potential of the bike.”

Again he has a new team in WorldSBK, so what are his impressions on that side so far?

“For sure the team is quite new and everybody is new in the team,” eh confirmed. “We have to know each other and at the moment I am really happy with the guys here. We need more time to understand well how to work and how to make the programme, especially in race weekends when we have less time in the tests.

"It is more relaxed and easier. The team is very professional and there are many people from MotoGP, so they know very well racing and have a lot of experience. For that side I am not worried. It is just a question of time and to know each other.”


Given that many had expected continuity from Bautista and Ducati, especially after his astounding start to his rookie WorldSBK year in 2019, Bautista was asked again why did decided to accept the Honda challenge?

“I think Honda wants to win again in WorldSBK,” he stated. “For me the project was very interesting. I trusted in HRC a lot, and they gave me a good opportunity to – how to say – try to see my potential and to make a completely new bike with my reference.

If we can make the bike winning it will be a big effort, also from my side. With the other bike we started with a bike ‘made’. With this bike we are making! For me it was a good challenge and it motivates me a lot. So I decided to choose this option.”

Bautista apparently spoke to Marc Marquez about his Honda move, and the bike itself after Marquez rode the streetbike version. “Yes, I spoke with him and he just tried a street version but he told me he was impressed with the engine, because he expected, like me, less power but he said the engine was very strong and very easy to ride. A streetbike is with ABS, standard suspension so it is a bit different from the bike we are using now but the first impression was positive so it helped me a bit to take a decision.”

Bautista’s first day at Jerez did not pass without incident, as he fell early on, but without injury.

“Yes I crashed; I made a mistake in turn six, because I went into neutral so from engine braking to ‘push’ I lost the front. Fortunately without consequence.”

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