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“That corner, around the outside? No!” - Alvaro Bautista doffs his cap to ballsy Alex Lowes

Gold & Goose

While it is not often Alvaro Bautista is seen ceding a victory in the closing moments of a WorldSBK race, the defending champion revealed he had long been expected an attack from behind… he just hadn’t anticipated where and how Alex Lowes would achieve it.

The Spaniard saw a confidence-boosting victory in the final race of the weekend snatched from under his nose on the final lap of the restarted 11-lap sprint when a charging Lowes used his momentum through Turn 8 to get a strong run around the outside of Bautista as they climbed the uphill blind left-hander of Lukey Heights.

A masterfully executed overtake that earned Lowes widespread acclaim in the paddock, the pass duly earned him a second victory of the weekend and consigned Bautista to the runners-up spot.


Somewhat surprisingly for a rider who begins his bid for a third straight WorldSBK title on the back of his record-breaking 27 race-winning campaign in 2023, Bautista was more than satisfied with second at the end of a tough weekend.

Coming to Australia lacking confidence in his Aruba.it Ducati after a pre-season hindered by a lingering injury, Bautista looked far from his usual poised self in Superpole (9th) and Race 1 when he slid off early on, leaving him 15th at the flag.

A run to fourth in the Superpole Race steadied his nerves before using his elevated starting position to fight his way into the lead of Race 2. While the waves of attack from behind varied, Bautista couldn’t break away from the pack, leaving him vulnerable to Lowes as he sized up an overtake.

Sensing his rival was struggling through corners requiring a quick change of direction, Lowes’ attack certainly had the element of surprise for Bautista.

“I’m happy, I think second place today was the maximum I could achieve. It was a really tricky race and with the red flag, it was very complicated. 

“I managed the situation very well and, in the end, I tried to push to my maximum in the race. 

“I had some tyre problems in the last three laps. It was difficult for me to enter the corner, lean and open the gas. I didn’t expect to have the problem I had. It was difficult to lean and go fast in the corners. 


“I didn’t know which rider was behind me. I expected that they could pass me easily. In that corner, around the outside… no! 

“I expected it at easier points. I tried to be close through the last corner but through the left turns, I always had a lot of problems. I couldn’t carry the speed mid-corner so it was really difficult.”

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