Imola WorldSBK: Track ‘dangerous’ even in the dry says Bautista - Bikesport News

Imola WorldSBK: Track ‘dangerous’ even in the dry says Bautista

Picture: GeeBee Images

For the first time this year Alvaro Bautista met his WorldSBK match in both the 19-lap first race and the 10-lap Superpole race on Sunday morning, before rain and safety concerns wiped out the final clash before it started.

Bautista, like Rea, went a bit off-piste with his rear tyre choice in the sprint race. Rea chose the new soft development SC0 ‘A’ tyre in each race but Bautista and a very few others reached for the pre-qualifying/short distance SCX special. It did not quite pay off, but Bautista knew he had to try something.

“I used the SCX tyre,” he confirmed to “I used it yesterday in Superpole and the feeling was not too bad. But I did four laps on it, in and out with the red flags. We tried it this morning in the Superpole race.

“It works not so bad but after five laps it drops a lot and I lost everything. But we had to try. If we did not try maybe we could fight or second or third, but never for the victory, because this weekend our performance was good, but not as good as Jonathan. So we have to try something different to try to fight.

Also in race two if no rain, I had some ideas to try in the dry. We need to improve. We can see that not in all tracks our bike works well, so it is nice for us. Before we worked had, but now we will work harder.”

Bautista was adamantly against racing in the wet. Completely. And he isn’t too keen in Imola even it was dry as a bone.

“It was more than the amount of wet on the track, there was quite a lot of standing water in some points,” he said. “For me the biggest problem was the safety of the track.

The walls are very close to the track. In dry conditions for me it is not safe to race in the dry. In the wet we have to cancel the race, clearly. I am a bit disappointed for the people who came here, because there was a lot of support from all the Italian fans, but I think that the riders’ safety – well, the peoples’ safety – is the first. I am so sorry but I think it was the best decision to cancel race two.”

When asked if he thinks that this track should not be part of the calendar he stated, “For me this is the first time I raced here but in the test I told to some guys here in the track that for me it is not safe.

“The walls are very, very close and also there is no service roads, it is the street, out of the track. We saw many red flags because the ambulance has to enter through the track. So, for me it is a dangerous track and as the layout is old style the safety is old style as well. For me dry is dangerous. Wet, impossible.”

Some other riders were said to have wanted to race, even in the wet. “What can I say?” he continued, “The problem is not the track. I have raced in even worse conditions than this one, but the problem is the safety out of the track.

“The runoff area is too small for the dry but for the wet it is nothing. For me it is not a question of more X or less X to race it is just safety. For myself but also the safety of everybody. There is no meaning to take risk for something serious.

I know there are some interested to have more points but you have to be careful because you can also lose the points - but more than points. That is the importance. Today we spoke about safety, not about performance or if you are more heavy because you want to race on the wet. I have raced in the wet in even worse conditions. If it is safe conditions for everybody I agree to race, for sure.”

It was put to him that Marco Melandri stated that Rea, Haslam and Sykes wanted to race, to which he replied, “I do not know which riders wanted to race. I saw maybe Jonathan and Leon on their bikes, Sykes when we did a meeting before the re-start, I understood that he was agreed to not race but maybe, I don’t know, he changed his opinion? The rest of the riders agreed with me.”

The main reason that Bautista felt he could not compete for the wins, for the very first time in WorldSBK, was the track characteristic.

“I think basically it is for the characteristic of the circuit,” he stated. “I said on Friday, and also yesterday, the problem on our bike is always the same but on this track even worse. Maybe Laguna Seca is very similar to this track. Portimao also may be a track like this one.

“But the test we did at Portimao was my second one with the Panigale - but the feeling was better than here. We will see when we arrive. The next track at Jerez is one I know very well and I hope we can come back to normal and see what will happen there.”

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