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WorldSBK Estoril: ‘Slow sectors we are not so strong’ - Bautista

Alvaro Bautista nearly took his second win of the weekend at Estoril on Sunday afternoon but a determined push into the final chicane on the last lap allowed Jonathan Rea to muscle and massage his Kawasaki inside Bautista’s Ducati, and hold on for a narrow but emphatic win.

Bautista recalled the event vividly just after the podium ceremony. “In the last overtake, he did me,” said the Spaniard. “I lost the line, because I close the door and he arrive and open the door. He put the bike inside and then I have to pick up. Then the exit I lose more than with Toprak yesterday. Also at the end, on the last lap, the light rain that it was doing on the race, was a bit harder. So, I tried to be close in the last corner but I was sliding and it was not very safe.

“At the end, this time I didn’t win, but I’m happy because I felt better than this morning in these conditions. So, it has been a very good race for us. I battled with the others, braking hard. So I’m happy with the feeling I have during the race.”

Bautista expected a final attack from Rea, who he knew was quite close behind.
“For sure, I expect it,” said Bautista. “For that reason, I expect him. In turn seven, he tried to pass me and I was prepared to retake the lead. In fact, I did it. In the chicane, I knew he’d try. But I just leave a few meters between the inside curb and me, but he just put the bike inside. In that corner it’s difficult to defend, more than I did. Also, it’s very difficult to recover the positions because then it’s very close to the other corner and you don’t have a space. I tried to defend and at the end I cannot defend my position. He gained the position very well. But for sure, with Jonathan, I arrive to the last corner and I’m sure that he’ll try at least once or twice.”


Alvaro agreed that he did have the advantage on the straights, but that he did not have any advantages on any other parts of the track.

“Yeah, exactly. You can see in the straight because it’s easy, but you don’t see the problems I can see during the rest of the lap,” he declared. “For example, in the sector from the corner 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, I lose a lot compared to Toprak and Jonathan. But I can’t improve a lot there because my bike maybe is strong in another point, but in a small sector and a slow sector we are not so strong. But, it seems like you see from outside, could be the rider that is not good. He wins because the bike, because you can only see the straight. So, I have to fight with the bike in these sectors. But in any case, we have strong points. We need to improve the negative point. For me, it’s not a problem if people think I win because the bike is a rocket or something. I know the truth and I know how is my feeling and where we can go faster than the others.”

The ever-changing rain - more smears of water mist than actual droplets that stopped and gently restarted - were a factor all through Sunday in Portugal. It had some effect on the surface compared to the dry Saturday, of course.

“For sure, it was worse than yesterday,” agreed Alvaro. “This morning was very, very tricky because you cannot make mistakes because there was only one line. Now in the afternoon at least was basically dry, but the grip was a bit worse than yesterday, or this is what I feel. Also, in some sectors of the track was all the laps on the race like rain. So, always careful.”

Bautista leads Rea by 17 points in the championship, after a first, third and then second place finishes in Estoril.

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