Alvaro Bautista targets Misano treble at Ducati’s home round

The goal is clear for WorldSBK championship leader Alvaro Bautista - ‘win all three races’ at Ducati’s home track (Misano).
Alvaro Bautista, Ducati WorldSBK Estoril
Alvaro Bautista, Ducati WorldSBK Estoril

Winner of four races already in 2022, Bautista has more than confirmed the early pre-season promise he and Ducati showed by challenging Jonathan Rea and reigning WorldSBK champion Toprak Razgatlioglu. 

As the only rider to have step foot on the podium in every race, Bautista’s blend of stunning pace and consistency has made him a tough nut to crack. 

Bautista looked to have secured his fifth win of the year during race two at Estoril, however, an inventive last-lap overtake from Rea saw the Kawasaki rider narrowly beat the former MotoGP rider. 

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Still, Bautista has been a match for both Rea and Razgatlioglu through the opening nine races, something that should continue at a track where Ducati have enjoyed huge amounts of success.

In 2021 Michael Ruben Rinaldi dominated the opening two races before clinching second in race two - victory instead went the way of Razgatlioglu who will be desperate to get his title defence up and running after failing to win so far this season. 

“If I can have fun on the bike, I can be competitive,” said Bautista. “It will be nice if I can win all three races for the fans, so just trying to enjoy it together. It’s a track that’s very short and we saw in the past [a lot of] fighting in the races. 

“Here, my teammate Rinaldi won two races last year. He was second in race two so he will be competitive. I don’t think this round will only be three riders fighting for the victory, we are also talking about Michael to fight for the victory. 

“It’s a track that’s very technical and the differences are very small compared to other tracks. 

“I think there will be more riders fighting for victory and for the podium; it’ll be more exciting for everybody watching the races.”

Can Pirelli’s new SCX rear tyres give six-time WorldSBK champion Rea an advantage?

Last season’s Emilia-Romagna round was a tough one for Rea, with the Kawasaki rider on the limit throughout all three races.

Trying to keep pace with Rinaldi and Razgatlioglu, Misano was also the scene of an incredible save from the Northern Irishman after he lost the front at turn one. 

But while Rea was busy producing miracles, Razgatlioglu and Rinaldi were able to clear off and battle it out for victory. 

While tyres haven’t been an issue for Rea and Kawasaki so far this season - instead their ability to make different compounds work has been a big strength - having different SCX options available should be a benefit, not a hindrance.

Jonathan Rea, WorldSBK superpole race, 22 May
Jonathan Rea, WorldSBK superpole race, 22 May

Rea added: "Last year, our biggest nemesis was the SCX tyre. We could only really work that tyre in the real hot conditions. Estoril [this year] was in the mid-20s. We would be scared of that last year. 

"Race two showed us that we could be convinced that we can use that tyre now. All our work in the offseason has paid off. I feel like at the end of the race, we had the better tyre and was able to go forward and catch Alvaro and spring a pass on the last lap. 

"That gives us some confidence that these summer races can be even better. 

"I’m just enjoying racing, enjoying riding the bike and the battle right now at the front with Toprak and Alvaro, two very different characters on the track, is really fun but I expect a lot more to join that party at Misano." 

In regards to the tyres Pirelli have brought forward for Misano, the two rear ‘solutions’ have been developed with an eye on countering high track temperatures which are expected.

Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Motorsport Director, said: "So far this year, we haven't brought any development solutions for the rear, so we'll do it at Misano. The goal is to further improve the performance of the SCX and that’s the reason why we have developed two solutions with different characteristics compared to the standard option. 

Pirelli, Misano WorldSBK, 9 June
Pirelli, Misano WorldSBK, 9 June

"Both solutions use the same compound, which is however different from the standard, and offer two different options in terms of structure. 

"It will therefore be interesting to understand how they behave on a typically challenging track, which can be even more demanding in the case of particularly high temperatures. In short, an excellent test bench."

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