Aruba.it Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista has joked that the grid penalty he copped prior to taking his sixth WorldSBK win of the season was a ‘warning’ to stop him from assuming he’d have things so easy in the opening race of the weekend at Assen.
The Spaniard maintained his dominant run of form on the Ducati Panigale V4 R in the Netherlands with another meticulous performance that saw him stalk early leader Jonathan Rea before pouncing for the lead and sprinting to the flag.
Pushing his championship lead out to 46 points over Toprak Razgatlioglu, Bautista says it was important for him to think his way into the race.
“Today was not easy, first of all because with the penalty I started from the second row and it was important not to lose too many positions at the start and be in the mix of the group.
“When I was behind Toprak and Jonathan, I was just watching the track conditions, so after a few laps I began to understand the track and I could push harder than the pace we had, so I got into the lead
“With five or six laps to go I saw the gap was increasing a little bit so I tried to make another push and get an advantage, which I did, it worked. I am so happy to win again.”
His sixth win in seven races, Bautista’s latest success came despite being demoted from pole position to fourth on the grid after Superpole, the legacy of stewards punishing him for dawdling on the racing line at Turn 1 in the path of others beginning time attacks.
It cost Bautista what would have been only his third Superpole success since the start of his dominant run at the top of his title-winning WorldSBK campaign.
While he admits he didn’t agree with the penalty, he says he used it to fuel his determination and even saw it as a ‘warning’ not to get too relaxed too much.
“For sure, I didn’t like the penalty but I took it on the positive side and I took energy from it, because after pole position I was too relaxed and it seemed like everything was easy. The penalty was like a warning, you know, to push, so in the end it helped me.”
With victory in Race 1 notching up a 398th win for Ducati in WorldSBK, Bautista is well placed to secure the two wins that’d bring the manufacturer up to the magic 400 mark on Sunday.