WorldSBK Catalunya: Bautista dominates at home for ‘special weekend’

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

Aruba.it Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista won all three WorldSBK races at Catalunya, underlining the dominance he is beginning to show after he, Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu had been greedily sharing most of the podiums until the midway point of the year.

They have all had their moments of brilliance and bad luck or bad decision making, as may be expected from even the best. But something changed at Catalunya, as nobody could lay a glove on Alvaro no matter what they tried. If he does go on to win the championship, this could be thought of as his step-change, where he moved on as the Yamaha and Kawasaki lead riders struggled, in relative terms.
Bautista’s Barcelona form - scoring his first triple since he put on a Ducati team fleece once again this year - after two almost fallow Honda seasons, is at least partly the culmination of all that combined experience and Bautista being able to manage any situation that is thrown at him. He also has the best bike again, as he had in the early part of 2019, before it all went wrong. Down the straight, it was hard work for all who tried to follow.

His only slight black mark, more pale grey than black, was qualifying on row two for Superpole. The races were all controlled by him and he was in a class of his own.

“Yesterday in Superpole, I felt like I can’t feel the performance of the tyres,” explained Bautista. “For the Superpole race, for sure the bike doesn’t care about the tyre life so we did a different setup in the morning. I felt more or less what I expected to feel so I use it in the Superpole race and at the end I can be fast. Not consistent, but also fast this morning. I’m more happy for that because in race two, more or less, it was more than the speed, it’s the consistency, the management of the tyre.

“Yesterday we did well, so today was the same plan. Try to make good start and try to stay in the mix. Then just manage the tyre consumption and try to finish the best possible. At the end, so happy to have three victories from three this weekend. It has been amazing for me.”

Bautista certainly delivered on expectations, especially as he managed his tyre wear very well.
“Also especially because on paper, this track could be one of our favourites, and we take the maximum we can,” said Bautista. “I’m happy also for that because we took the maximum, and I’m so happy.”

With Michael Ruben Rinaldi also on good form, almost running interference for his teammate ahead of Rea in race two, the points lost by his rivals were important for Bautista. Was it a help in his view?

“I think more than take some points for the championship, I think for Michael it’s more important to have a good result because then he’s getting more and more confident and this kind of a result is very important for him - but also for the team. I think he is doing a really good job. I think in the next races he can fight for victories.”

Now… Bautista lives west of Madrid, so he is not Catalan himself, unlike a lot of other Spanish riders, but he was still racing in Spain and had a lot of support at this round. Which made it extra-special to do the three wins on home soil.

He grinned, “It’s more special. Winning is special, but when you can do it in your home, with your family, your friends, all the fans, it’s really nice. Also because this is the first time that in Catalunya World Superbike the people can come to the races because last year it was not possible so, it’s even more special. Thanks to everybody here. Also on the grid. I felt the support from the people. When I’m walking through the paddock, also there’s many supporters, so, very emotional.”

Picture: GeeBee Images
Picture: GeeBee Images