Alvaro Bautista’s increasingly tough WorldSBK season continued in race one at Portimao as he was lifted up by team mate Chaz Davies through turn one on the opening lap and ran off the track.
Bautista explained what exactly happened as it looked like there wasn’t any contact, even though it couldn’t have been any closer.
“What happened? With team-mates like that I do not need more enemies,” he laughed. “In the start I was inside the corner and then Chaz arrived more inside, he touched me and I was lucky to not touch Lowes as we can crash together. So in that moment I was lucky.
“I felt inside – I do not know if we touch or not – but I just felt the bike inside and I had to pick up to not have a contact. I do not know if we touched. Then on the other side was Lowes, and I was really, really lucky to not touch him.
Bautista came back on to the track in 17th place and had to put his head down to not lose too much to series leader Ray.
“After that I tried to get my pace, do my best and at the beginning I Was struggling a lot to overtake other riders,” Bautisa said.
“Our bike – when you are alone more, or less – you have corner speed and then the exit from the corner, the traction is not too bad. But when you have to make the speed like the other riders you have to stop the bike more, and then the traction is not good, so I lost a lot of time behind the other riders.
The only chance I had to overtake the other riders was exiting the last corners quite faster than the rest. Many times I had to wait until I had done one lap behind a rider and wait for the last corner. I lost a lot of time at the beginning, but when I was alone, my pace was good even faster than the other riders. This is racing.”
Bautista’s shoulder problem, exacerbated by a slow crash in FP3 today, did not hurt him too much in the race – a factor he was worried about enough on Friday to come to the media debriefs with a large ice pack on his left shoulder.
“Fortunately in the race I did not feel anything, Maybe the adrenaline, the tension, but I did not feel anything.
“Now I am starting to feel something and I have to check it in the Clinica Mobile. The problem – and I hope to not have the problem – is tomorrow morning when I wake up, and we will see.”
Bautista was down in 16th place on lap one, but came back to finish fourth, and leave day one with a 93 point disadvantage over Race One winner Jonathan Rea.