The runaway success that is the Ducati Panigale V4R and Alvaro Bautista combo proved to be beatable at Imola on two occasions, and Bautista proved to be mortal after all in a racing sense at his home racetrack of Jerez - by crashing out of the lead in the final race of the weekend.
He lost the front turning into the first corner of lap two, but just put it down to… well… not too much front brake. “No, not really,” he said through a smile.
“I just crashed, I lost the front. These things can happen. I did not make anything really strange; did like normal. It had been going well. I think my feeling in the race was the same as before but these things can happen,” Bautista told bikesportnews.com
Many riders crash in the past and they will crash in the future! No problem, it is just a situation. I do not think too much about it.”
In the first race and the ten lap Superpole race Bautista was rewarded with wins because he set off at lap record pace, and lifted the new lap record to a 1’39.004 on lap two of the Superpole race.
“I do more or less the fastest laps in the other races in lap four or five, except Assen. I was pushing but not like ‘crazy’. We will study what happened but in the data we may see more brake pressure or lean angle, but my feeling is that I did not do anything too much different.”
Bautista agreed that this was not the worst track to have your first DNF at, as Rea was ‘only’ second in the race and ‘only’ fourth in both race one and the Superpole race.
Overall Bautista left Spain with a 41-point lead over Rea, having arrived with a 43-point lead, so the damage of potentially costly weekend was two points.
“Basically we are more or less in the same position with three races less in the championship so it is not terrible. It was a pity to see the red flag at the end because if I had made the last two laps I would have finished the race and got one point.
Everything can help, but at the end I did not make two-thirds of race distance. But we tried. I have crashed two times since I got on the Ducati. Once in the tests at Misano, and then today. This is the only mistake of the race season.”
Bautista has now scored 13 race wins in the season, or as he celebrated on the track that bears the name ‘Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto’ - his 12+1 wins. Nieto was so superstitious he would hear no talk of being a 13-times world champion of the smaller classes - he was the 12+1 champion.