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WorldSBK Aragon: 'Important to finish and get the result' - Bautista

Alvaro Bautista tried to win the opening race on his big Ducati WorldSBK comeback weekend, but he also knew that the most important job he had in hand was to finish on the podium.

To put a strong marker down, and only win if it was possible without too much risk.

All these things are relative for motorcycle racers, of course, as his late pass on eventual Race One winner Rea looked pretty definite, until Rea cut inside and blocked Bautista’s final winning ambition.
“I wanted to have a good base and try to be strong every race,” said Bautista, 20 points to the good after two tough years on a Honda. “So, today was important to finish. At the beginning, I saw Jonathan and Toprak start to do some battling. I just preferred to stay calm.


'My pace was good in practice, so I knew that being calm I can be with them easy… Not easy, but I can be with them! After a few laps, I saw, and I think Jonathan saw as well, that maybe Toprak was a bit slower, so maybe we decide to pass him.”

They both passed at once, in what was one of many thrilling moments in an epic first race. “I was fantastic first corner braking because we arrived three together. I have here (on Bautista’s left knee) some tyre rubber from Toprak. So, I have to pay him because I stole some rubber from his front tyre! But it was nice. With Jonathan, I think he knew that maybe if I keep my pace on the front, maybe I can go a bit faster.

"He try always to be in front of me. But I did not care because for me the important thing is just to finish. I didn’t want to go battling too much with him, because it’s not the time to do it. It’s the first race and I just want to secure a good result and a good feeling. So, on the straight, I can pass him, but it’s always at the end of the straight because on acceleration he was stronger than me every corner. So, I lost a lot in acceleration but then in some corners I can recover in some braking and in the straight.

"Just every time I pass him on the long straight, the last corner for me was difficult to make the bike turn, especially with this wind that it pushed me out. So, I always was struggling a lot in that corner. In the last lap, I tried again. I tried to force the bike to close. I did almost half corner with the front just slide, because want to go out and I tried not to fall. But Jonathan can turn better and have more mid-corner speed, so at the end I cannot beat him.

"But in any case, it has been a very funny race. I enjoyed a lot. Especially I enjoyed because this is my position. I have to fight for this kind of position, like last two season. So, I’m happy for that. Thanks to my team because they worked really well during all the preseason to give me a bike which I can enjoy. So, thanks to all of them. I think it’s been a good way to start the season.”

Bautista felt he could not run away out front at this race, and didn’t want to after experiencing some issues in clean air - including one massive fishtail slide under power exiting the final corner while leading Rea and Razgatlioglu.

“Sincerely, I didn’t think about that,” said Alvaro. “I just stayed in the race, tried to be focused and don’t think to try to go away. A couple of times that I was in front, I had some stability problems and I lose again. So, I just tried to be calm and finish the race. Maybe if I’m not coming from the situation I had last season, maybe I try more. But right now was the right decision to do what I did.”

Bautista didn’t think anything was ‘missing’ for him in Race One, it was just Rea having more, more often.

“I think for me it was important just to finish the race and get a result. At the end, if you have a good feeling but you crash or something, it’s like ‘not perfect.’ So, I didn’t try to win. I just was doing my 90 per cent to not overpass the limit and just finish the race. For sure, if I can win, it’s better. But for me the important thing was to fight in the top, fight to win the race, don’t crash, and enjoy. It’s what I did.”


Bautista usually passed on the straight but there other places he could, and felt he could. “Yeah, for sure with more risk maybe in Turn One sometimes,” he said. “When I exit good from the last corner, turn one sometimes I arrived very close to him and maybe risking there I can do it. Also in turn four, I think it was a point very critical because you are leaning. Basically, there were not a lot of points to pass him without risk, if not the straight.”

After two tough seasons with Honda Bautista was asked about his Ducati predecessor Scott Redding’s first experience of the BMW M1000RR, after a race in which Redding finished 15th.

“I know perfectly what he is feeling,” said Bautista. “I know a lot very well his frustration. He left a really good bike, easy bike. So, to arrive to a level then to go faster is more difficult. But, a ‘base’ bike to arrive to a level is easy. So, I know. Also, he changed engines, from a V4 to four in-line. I think he has the same feeling as I had. So, the only thing he can do is just work, try to adapt his riding style to that bike and try to get the maximum of that bike. It’s what I tried to do in the past.”

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