Alvaro Bautista did not become the WorldSBK champion on his Aruba Ducati V4R - on Saturday at least - in Indonesia and the fact the front Pirelli he favours is missing from this weekend's allocation hasn't helped.
Toprak Razgatlioglu was just too fast and too good, and Buatista realised this at the end of race one. He also knew as early as Friday he would be toiling compared to some previous tracks because his favoured front tyre did not make the allocation taken to Indonesia.
“Yeah. Sincerely, Toprak is in a good level. Also it’s true that I’m missing front feeling with the tyre. Pirelli didn’t bring the tyre that I use normally," said Bautista, speaking at the track.
"So yesterday I struggled. Today as well. We are trying to make it work, but this tyre for me is more difficult because it doesn’t allow me to be precise, and I did more mistakes. I think this is the worst track to make a mistake (because it has such a narrow current line.
"So, at the end, to catch Toprak today I had to risk more than normal. So, today the maximum I can arrive was second.”
Bautista had little hope that there would be some kind of large sale improvement. “I don't think so," said Bautista. "Maybe instead of 60 centimetre, we have 62. The problem is that tomorrow will be even worse because maybe more rubber on the out area. The difference is even bigger.
This morning in superpole, I did turn five, six, and I just put the front on the black line but the rear was a bit outside. I did all the time sliding. Dangerous because the grip is zero. So, it’s not easy to do a race with these conditions. It's clear it’s the same for everybody, but also with the front that I don’t have the good feeling… For me, this weekend is very tough. So we will try to get the maximum and today it’s what I did.”
Bautista was unsure exactly what to do to fix the track in Indonesia, but know it needed ot be done differently. “Well, I don't know. I think here for example, make some days with cars but at the end, the cars here I think the tyres are super hard. They just slide and don’t put down rubber. I don't know. Maybe to do some test.
"I think the main thing is finish the work at least two or three months before a race, because here they finished two weeks ago. Now we are lucky that the oil (inside the asphalt) at least is not out today. We’ll see tomorrow. You remember Argentina three years ago that Friday was good and then Saturday, boom?”
On Saturday Bautista put on a good show for the Ducati top brass that arrived in Indonesia - Paolo Ciabatti and Gigi Dall’Igna. Even if he couldn’t quite win the first race or the title until his next opportunities on Sunday, he said there was no special effort or desperation because the big bosses were there.
“No!," said Bautista. “I had the same mentality as other races. You see Toprak is very fast here. From Friday, he went very fast. Believe me. I think with the front tyre that normally use, I don’t say I can win here, but for sure, I can be more precise and less mistakes. So, I think it’s the combination. For sure, I don’t say ‘I roll off.’ No. I was pushing. Not taking more risk than necessary, but I was pushing.
"I just say the last pressure, Ciabatti, Gigi… No, no, no. For me, it’s a pleasure to have them here in Mandalika because it’s a long way, so that means that they believe in us. They trust in WorldSBK. They are pushing really hard for this championship. So, I’m happy to have them here.”