Alvaro Bautista lost his final chance of taking the WorldSBK championship fight all the way to the wire after a clash and crash with double race winner Toprak Razgatlioglu in race two at Magny-Cours.
As the Turkish ride spun up his rear tyre he slid and then slowed suddenly on the exit of Ctaueau d’Eau, with Bautista just behind and unable to take avoiding action.
“For me he was too nervous and after winning two races in a row during this weekend I think he wanted to win again and tried to win in the second lap,” Bautista told bikesportnews.com.
“We were in a group, he overtook me a bit near the limit and he tried to open the gas too early, like if he was on a normal line and he lost the rear and unfortunately I was to close to him and I hit him and I could not save the crash.
For me for sure it was not his intention to crash but he was not thinking about the situation of the race. He made a mistake in the first corner in the first lap. Maybe he was extra motivated to the fight for the victory.”
In seeing his chance to at least keep the championship going into Argentina and the next round going up in a spray of fibreglass and sparks, Bautista knew that the title damage had not really been done in France, even as he congratulated Rea.
“Congratulations to him because he did really a good season and he tried to get the maximum he can in all situations.
“For sure he has a really good performance with the bike and the team and they make a lot of experience and he deserved to at least to fight for the championship and to win. For me it has been a good feeling in this championship because everything was new for me.
For sure, I did not lose the championship today - because you lose the championship during the championship. But I am a bit disappointed because today I can fight for the win as the feeling with the bike was really good, especially because we did not ride much in dry conditions.
“In the morning we made a good step forward in our pace and in race two I was there and I thought I could fight for the victory.”
Bautista will have his second crack at the WorldSBK championship in 2020, a full HRC Honda rider on a new bike that may be, in its own way, as radically tuned and tricked out as his current Ducati. But first, like his peers, he will have two more 2019 rounds, in Argentina and Qatar.