Before the start of the WorldSBK season few thought Alvaro Bautista was going to dominate in the way that he has - 11 wins from 11 races.
It’s a little bit the same with Scott Redding, coming from MotoGP and on the new Ducati V4R, but there’s a few more variables including the big difference between British Superbike and WorldSBK circuits.
BSB has a massively diverse collection of old school Cadwell Park, Oulton Park up-and-down courses and then quite modernised tracks like Assen, Donington, which he’s used to, and Silverstone which he’ll get his head round after a single session although it’s different to the long MotoGP circuit.
So it’s a little bit more of an unknown for me. Will he be quick? Yes he will. The bike will translate from a WorldSBK specification to British Superbike spec really well. The Italian engineers have been telling me they had British Superbikes in mind when they tested it.
And they were testing with the Motec electronics package that is mandatory within BSB. So essentially they know the bike is going to work.
Is it too much to ask to expect him to win it? No, but he doesn’t have to dominate the main season. If he can end up in the Showdown, and really he should, then he’s going to be finishing on two circuits he knows really well, in Donington and Assen, and Brands Hatch which he will have had a go around earlier in the year.
So I can’t see him dominating the main season but if he does end up in the Showdown, and it all goes according to plan and he stays aboard it, I can see him being a threat. The lovely thing about BSB is that you can never call it.
I reckon you could have 11 riders who could end up in the Showdown. And I think you have something like 15 winners of various BSB classes, and a lot from the BSB class, in that race. There’s some talent in there.
So it’s more difficult than the Grand National to pick a winner but if I was a bookmaker I would probably, and I say probably, be giving the shortest odds to Josh Brooks on the other PBM Ducati.
It seems, by what he is saying, that he has clicked with the Ducati. I think the bike is going to be really good and he knows where he is going. The PBM team, always interesting, certainly know how to put a bike together. But there’s a lot of characters in it, let’s put it that way.
We are, of course, producing some great young riders including the likes of Tarran Mackenzie and Bradley Ray. And there’s a young Australian kid who I don’t think is going to feature in the dry races but if it’s wet I think Ben Currie could take a BSB win. He’s exceptional in the wet albeit this is his first season in Superbikes.
We have got three big people who have left the class, Jake Dixon, Leon Haslam and Shane Byrne - all front runners. Now that doesn’t mean you haven’t got as strong a class, it is giving more chance to the people who want to seize the opportunity.
We are going to see an even more competitive class and from where I am sat at the moment I can’t wait for the weekend.
Finally, a quick reflection on WorldSBK round at Assen last weekend. It didn’t go exactly the way some of us thought although we knew Bautista was going to be really quick on a circuit he knows. But I suppose I was kind of hoping that Jonathan Rea, on one of his favourite circuits, having won there on bikes which he really shouldn’t have won on, would get us a different winner.
But the fact is that Bautista rode better than anybody else. He had more corner speed and was unflustered when anybody got in front of him.
You’ve got to take your hat off to him, he’s a class act. I spoke to him afterwards and he’s a happy, nice little fella. There’s nothing not to like about him.
We all want to have close racing but you can’t knock a man for being good.