New WorldSBK Champion Alvaro Bautista had just come down from his state of high emotion at achieving a second World Championship (he was the 125cc Grand Prix title winner in 2006, of course) in time to be the focus of attention at the championship-winner’s press conference.
Flanked by both his Ducati and Aruba bosses, he said, “I started in this championship four years ago. I felt really well on the bike. We made a really good start of the season in 2019). Then for sure, I missed some experience in the category. I didn’t know very well the tyres. Some tracks were new for me. So, we did some mistakes. Also for Ducati it was the first season with the completely new bike. They did a really good bike, but still much to improve. Was not especially easy the second part of the season.”
Then the real learning experience kicked in for the Spaniard.
“I spent two years in another manufacturer. Two really difficult years for me because I never felt the same feeling I have with Ducati. But, it was positive for me because I learned a lot. I get a lot of experience in the championship. I get a lot of experience with the tyre. I tried to find something that helped me to go fast, to give my best on the bike, but I didn’t find.
“I remember the second year, in 2021, at the beginning of the season, I met Stefano (Cecconi) and Serafino (Foti). I said to them, ‘No managers’. I wanted to speak with them and they said, ‘Okay.’ I told them ‘I feel like a better rider. I feel that I still have something inside that I want to fight for wins. I feel that I have enough experience and I need now a bike and a team for win. Right now, I’m not in the right place and I need this. So, what do you think if we join again and we continue the work that we started in 2019?’ They said, from the other side, it is the same. ‘We need a rider that wants to win, that will be happy with the team and don’t just say bullshit about the team, about the bike. Just trust in us’. So at the end, we started to work and we can arrive to the agreement. So, happy, then we restart the work.
“I found the same thing, because already the team is perfect. It’s one of the best teams I’ve been in all my career, but also I found a better bike. The bike was amazing.
“The feeling I had when I ride the bike again was incredible. Already I remember in Jerez in November, the first lap I did with the bike, with the plain tyre, I said, ‘this is my bike. This is where I enjoy.’ I’m so happy to win the title because we did an amazing season.”
There were a couple of flies in Bautista’s 2022 season ointment - when he fell on his own at Donington and when he was taken out by Rea at Magny Cours - but the bike itself was almost flawless.
“The bike was perfect in all the races,” confirmed Alvaro. “The team worked as best as possible. Ducati support us 100 per cent. The team made the maximum effort possible. I tried to do my best every time I jump in the bike, so at the end, this is the consequence of all the work behind.
“Impressive because I felt stronger than ever physically but also mentally. I have learned a lot from the past, so this is the result of all the work we did. I’m so happy. Also, I think this year the category is incredibly high, higher than ever. Probably the record of the races. To be there and to win in a year like this is even more hard and more special. I’m so proud of how we go in the championship. I just can say thanks to everybody involved in this project because it has been an amazing year for us.”