Misano WorldSBK: Bautista ‘feeling better than ever’| Gordon Ritchie | WorldSBK
Alvaro Bautista took his official Ducati to a well planned and executed victory in the first WorldSBK race at Misano, putting in a new record lap on the 18th go-around a hot Misano circuit.
His 1’34.221 new race best was stunning to behold and he was asked how he managed it so late in the race.
“Today, the track was very difficult because it was very hot,” Bautista said. “In the practice, it was a new situation for everybody. I had a really good feeling with the bike from the beginning, but also I didn’t want to discover something on the track. So at the beginning, Toprak I saw him very aggressive to take the lead. I leave him to be leading. I saw he was struggling a lot for stop the bike and for entry. In that moment, I think I can pass him and go a bit faster, but I just stayed calm because it was the beginning of the race so no need to take some risk at the beginning.
“Then when Jonathan passed him, then I had to pass Toprak. So, I did it and I just stayed behind Jonathan. Lap by lap, I tried to not use tyres a lot because especially today we race with the new tyre. Nobody try long, long run, so I didn’t know what happens at the end. Just because I felt very good on the bike, I just decided to stay calm and just keep the pace that we were riding. But, it’s true that I felt that I can go faster. So, when it was ten laps to go, or something like that, I decided to try to pass Jonathan. It was not easy. I have just a few points to pass him. One of them was in the back straight, the fast corner. I did it.
“I tried to do my pace and see if Jonathan had more to push or not. Then I saw that the difference was increasing lap by lap, so just I was focused on myself. Tried to get the maximum but not over-pass the limit. So, don’t take a lot of risk and I can go very fast for the conditions, especially in the last part of the race. I’m happy because I really enjoy this time with the bike, more than other races. On Friday, I felt much, much better than other races in this season.”
Some of his rivals said that Bautista had benefitted from a Misano test earlier in the year, but the man himself said it was not quite as simple as that, even if he raced with the settings from the test.
“After this test [at Misano], then we went to Barcelona and then we changed the bike. Also, we changed in Aragon. Okay, I did Aragon. Assen on Sunday I changed a bit to come back. Then, same in Estoril.
“Here after FP1 that the feeling was terrible compared to in the test! I just put the same bike as I did the test here. On Friday afternoon, I go fast. Also this morning. Also going fast in one lap - I always struggle a little bit to go fast in Superpole. So, the feeling now with the bike is better than all the season so far.”
With Razgatlioglu a whopping 77 points behind this early in the year, Bautista is taking nothing for granted. “Too early,” he said, “Sincerely, I don’t think about the championship. With this format, with the three races in a weekend, you cannot think about the championship. It’s too long. Many points for play, so no meaning to think about the championship.
“I just try to be focused in all the practice, every race. Try to enjoy. Try to get the maximum and then we see what happens. I’m not worried about points difference or not.”