Former MotoGP star Alvaro Bautista was a first timer at the Villicum circuit in San Juan, like a few others, and he was impressed with everything except the obvious dirty surface that some feel is so bad there should be no racing.
After spending the final session on day one swapping best lap times with new champion Jonathan Rea, he said: “Yes it is nice because it was first and second in the championship so we are fighting also here.”
“I am really happy because I discovered a really nice track, and I like it a lot. It is quite wide so it is good for these big bikes.
“For sure it is a track that you can find everything in, and especially turn one is quite good because it is downhill and you feel like the bike pushes you! It is nice. The pity is that it is too dirty. Too much sand on the asphalt.
I thought that from the morning to the afternoon it would improve a lot. It didn’t because it is strange. Normally what would happen is that, like Termas in MotoGP, from the first session to the second session the track improved a lot. Here it did not improve a lot. But I am happy because the feeling with the bike is quite good and it has been a first good day.”
Asked how Villicum compared to his previous Argentine experiences at the MotoGP venue of Termas, he said, “Personally, I like more this track. Termas is a nice track but - how do you say - it is too easy. At the end there are only like long corners. Here you can find everything.
“Long corners but also narrow corners. I like more this track and you can see that it is of the new generation. Quite wide and the escape room is much better. You go fast but you feel safe on the track. It is a nice track and I like a lot.”
Now the championship has been wrapped up in Rea’s favour, and with a nice Honda contract in his pocket, Bautista could be forgiven for being more relaxed in his mental approach to the final two rounds. Apparently not. Being fastest on Friday, despite a sketchy track surface, he is obviously still going to go for it in the races from now to the final one in Qatar.
“I do not want to change anything, I want to keep working with my team and my bike to win all I can do. For me it is a bit of a pity to lose the opportunity to arrive at the end fighting for the championship, but the situation was very particular but I will keep the same fighting mentality and I will do my best, always when I jump into the bike.”