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WorldSBK Portimao: Bautista 'in the fight' on unloved Pirelli rear

Honda's Alvaro Bautista very much wanted to race the SCX rear tyre that Pirelli have only allowed to be used in the Portimao WorldSBK sprint race on Sunday, but he had to use an SC0 in feature race one that his bike does not work well with.

He said of his race one ride, which culminated in a final-corner fall from a podium position, “Even more on the limit than other times because with SCX I have the problem on traction normally, but with SC0, it’s even more. It’s even worse.

'So at the end, between yesterday and today, we worked with the bike and more or less we made the tyre work a bit better than other races. So, the distance, the gap comparing the others with this tyre, today was a bit less. I can be more competitive. But, in the last lap, I was third and Loris passed me in the first corner.


"When he was passing me, I thought, shit. If I have to do all the lap, I don’t have another place to overtake him because he has more than me everywhere. The only place was behind him on the straight and maybe in the first corner. But already it was passed, the corner, so I tried to pass him in turn one and I did it.”

Back in front, Bautista knew he had to fight off Baz while maintaining his pace, and it nearly worked until the final curve. “I just tried to defend the position, because he was a bit more strong than me in the rest of the track. I tried to defend, but when you are in the limit and you try different lines or different things with this bike, you risk maybe much more than with other bikes.

"In the last corner, I just tried to be a bit more closer, because normally you make a long line then to close to make a good exit from the corner. But, in that time, I tried to be a bit more closer and just it’s a bit bumpy. In the moment I go in, I lose the front and I crash. Something similar as Jonathan. I crashed on the same place. So, it’s a pity because I think today we deserved even more the podium today. Working with the SC0 tyre that it never works for me, and we worked a lot yesterday and today with the small details to make improvement. Today in the race, we were there fighting.”

When asked if Pirelli should have let everyone use the X tyre, Bautista said, “Because my tyre, SC0, in the practice after sixteen laps, you see the tyre and it’s quite new. It’s just lost in sixteen laps 300 grams. Normally for a race it’s 700 or something, the weight. They brought it (the SCX) but for tomorrow in the short race.

"But for me, sincerely, it’s not a problem to make the long race with the SCX tyre. I think no problem. For me, it’s the only tyre worked with the bike, with me. So, the combination of me with the SC0, I was struggling. In fact, I used SC0 in FP1 normally because for the quantity of tyres. But normally, I’m struggling (with it). Then, when I use SCX, I do performance but also consistency.

"It’s easier for me because I have better grip and it’s more easy to keep the line. With the SC0, I just slide and I make more mistakes and I have more difficulty to ride the bike. I don’t say that because the tyre I cannot win. No, no. But for me it’s working better the SCX than SC0 tyre. This weekend I don't know because I didn’t use, because I just work with the SC0 to have a good feeling and to have a good setup. So, at the end, I don't know if with the SCX can be close.”

In theory the return to the SCX tyre should be ideal for Bautista in the sprint race, but not necessarily so. “Now I have different setup in the bike than normal. So, if tomorrow in the warm-up I have the chance to try the SCX, just to see if this setup can work with this tyre, but we’ll see.”

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