WorldSBK points leader Alvaro Bautista looks likely to remain with Ducati in the championship for at least one more season as the path back to a works MotoGP bike is blocked by incumbents.
Bautista saw his points lead slashed at Misano thanks to a crash in race three and a brace of wins for reigning champion Jonathan Rea but says he needs to see what the technical programme for the Bologna squad is before he puts pen to paper.
“I would like to stay in Ducati. Sincerely. Where, I dunno. We were waiting for an opportunity to come back in MotoGP,” Bautista told bikesportnews.com.
“Now it seems like the door is more closed, because Ducati are very happy with their riders and very happy with me here, so they want to keep things like this. I hope to have something this month because it is one thing I do not have to think about.”
The little Spaniard also feels he needs some clarification on where the development cycle is headed before decisions are made.
“I did not speak before but now it is time to do it and see what is the idea of Ducati for the future - because one thing is clear, they make a bike that - OK I go fast - but the other Ducati guys are struggling.
Next season Honda wants to come with a competitive bike, also Kawasaki and Yamaha is improving. So I have to see how is the technical programme for Ducati for next year. I hope this month, or the maximum next month, before the break.”
In the space of two rounds, or three if you count Rea’s domination in Imola – Bautista has gone from the most nailed-on championship favourite to twice a faller in big 25-point races while leading.
His latest crash was a shocker, especially as Jonathan Rea went on to win it and come to within 16-points of Bautista’s one ever growing lead.
“I am angry with myself because I made two mistakes in two races and this is not acceptable,” he said. “In the morning I felt so good on the bike and did a good Superpole race. But in the second big race, I knew the track condition was more slippery, more difficult to go fast.
“I didn’t make something crazy but maybe after the Superpole race I was too much with a lot of confidence, and made a mistake of too much confidence. I tried to save the crash but I could not, and I am very angry with myself.”
As well as the temperature change between races at a hot Misano, race three means a full fuel tank to do all 21 laps. But Bautista feels it was more than one thing that caught him out again.
“I think it is a combination of everything,” he stated. “When you have a lot of confidence in the bike you cannot understand how the conditions are in that moment.
Maybe we have to work on that to stay always on ‘warnings’, even if I have a lot of confidence. Maybe I have to warn myself to be always ready for everything. Especially to understand quicker the track conditions, and not to make this mistake. Mistakes can happen but two times in a row is too much. Too much.”
Bautista agreed that the neutrals now have a closer championship to watch: “I lost 48 points, because it is possible to win both races. But this is for learning. I am a rookie in this class and maybe now is the first two races that between the Superpole race and race two there is more difference in the track conditions.
“In the first two races in Australia the track conditions did not have a big difference. Thailand was hot for both. Also I Aragon it was more or less the same temperature and in Assen it was cold in both. So these two races have been where the track condition difference was bigger.
“In the Superpole race you use less fuel, then in race two more. I have to work on it. I think I have too much confidence in my riding and my bike.
“I do not think I am the favourite because the championship is too long. Looks like I am super-strong but in the end it is only 16 points. I have to work with myself. To learn not to repeat this.”