Bautista’s first thoughts: ‘I don’t feel so comfortable yet, but I enjoyed it’

Alvaro Bautista admits you can’t push a MotoGP machine the same way as in WorldSBK, after completing day-one of his wildcard appearance at Sepang.
Alvaro Bautista, Ducati MotoGP Sepang 2023
Alvaro Bautista, Ducati MotoGP Sepang 2023

The two-time Superbike champion spent much of the day adapting to the new-style MotoGP machines, which as a result saw the Spaniard finish way down the order.

Bautista finished 22nd in both sessions, with only Iker Lecuona behind the Ducati rider.

But Bautista was quick to point out why he failed to better his position: “I started with a base set-up from Ducati but because I wasn’t pushing too much it was too hard. We needed to work for the afternoon and we definitely improved the set-up. 

“I improved my lap time by almost two seconds. That means we did a step forward. I don’t feel so comfortable with the bike yet so we need to make another step for tomorrow. 

“The feeling will be a bit better and I can say that today, I enjoyed riding the bike.”

Having raced in Superpole races since joining the WorldSBK championship, Saturday’s sprint race should be no different for Bautista.

But before racing begins, Bautista wants to use FP3 as a chance to make further improvements ahead of qualifying.

Bautista told “For us it’s important to improve the feeling in FP3 and then try to make a good lap time in qualifyng. 

“Then the sprint will be good because practice is practice; I like racing more. Let’s see. Let’s try the new MotoGP format.”

Bautista compares MotoGP and Superbike machines

The combination of Bautista and the Panigale V4 R is arguably the hardest challenge to overcome in two-wheel racing at the moment.

But after jumping aboard a prototype bike for the first time since 2018, it’s clear to Bautista what the differences are between a Superbike and the much stiffer MotoGP machine. 

“All the bike is very different and the way you have to ride the bike is quite different, especially with the tyres,” said Bautista. 

“With the Superbike I can force more the bike and turn more with the rear. 

“Here, if you turn with the rear you lose traction and never recover. This afternoon I rode with a more MotoGP style.”

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