The contrast between the beginning of Alvaro Bautista’s rookie WorldSBK season and the now could not be more stark. He won every race available to him to the end of Assen – 11 in a row - but now he has won only three more and two of those were sprint races for fewer points than the feature versions.
At Donington, a track which flows then really stops and goes near the end, his Ducati’s unquestioned engine power can be utilised less often. A stable chassis, with enough manoeuvrability to allow high speed changes of direction down Craner, for example, is more important. Bautista does not have that right now.
He said, the races on Sunday in the dry were tricky and difficult. “Yes, because I had to fight a lot with the bike. What I said on Friday, our bike in these kinds of conditions of being bumpy and not a lot of grip, we are struggling a lot.
“Today I tried to stay with front group and did my best in both races. In the morning I was lucky because the race was shorter but physically I was destroyed, because I had to make an effort to ride the bike but also to keep the bike straight because it moved a lot. I had to give all my best physically.”
Race two was not much different, if 13 laps longer on paper and 16 laps longer in reality.
In race two it was the same history. I tried to stay with them but I lost a lot in the corner exits for the stability and also in long corners I lost a lot. I fought all the race with the bike and so at the end I could not keep the rhythm because physically I cannot ‘keep’ the bike more. At the end a podium was not a bad result especially after yesterday’s crash. Today it was important to finish the races.”
Bautista knows now he is chasing the best results he can, when in the first four rounds it was Rea doing that job. “Yes, exactly this is racing. Everything can happen. I am happy that this situation is now like this because that it means that we are pushing our maximum every time.
“For sure the two zeros I made in Jerez and Misano were very important. Yesterday I consider more like the conditions and the rain. I crashed for that. But the other two was our fault. Because of that we are now in second position, and it is interesting for the championship.
“For us, for Ducati, we have to understand that we have to improve the bike. It is too new and there are a lot of negative points we have to improve.”
Bautista also knows that he is not racing MotoGP any more and solutions, especially chassis solutions have a limit. He says that compared to his bike in Australia, his bike now is, “Basically the same. This is not like MotoGP. There you can put different frames, different swingarms and you can use many things. Here you can basically use the same things, just searching for the best set-up. So we have basically changed nothing it depends on track condition and more than the set-up.”