Bautista on Imola crash: ‘I didn’t have a good appreciation of the reality’

Alvaro Bautista says his worst moment of the 2023 WorldSBK season was his crash at Imola, a moment that reignited the championship fight.
Alvaro Bautista, Ducati WorldSBK Portimao 2023
Alvaro Bautista, Ducati WorldSBK Portimao 2023

The two-time WorldSBK champion had a more dominant season than any rider in history, but that didn’t stop crashes from giving Toprak Razgatlioglu hope in the title fight.

Bautista eventually secured his second title in succession last year, and will be the heavy favourite to make that three on the bounce in 2024.

After his crowning moment, Bautista said: “To be World Champion in 2023 sounds really good, especially because it’s very difficult to win a title and it’s even more difficult to defend it. 

“At the beginning of the season, I chose to use the #1 because I felt strong enough to defend the title with it. Defending the #1 on the bike is always really nice and it’s a pleasure for me to be part of the history. 

“My previous Championships were won in Australia in 125cc in 2006 and last year in Indonesia. I enjoyed the moment a lot with the team, but to win at Jerez was amazing. 

“I could share all these incredible moments with my friends and family. It was a dream come true to have the chance to celebrate the Championship with everyone. 

“I was really happy to share the Championship with my daughters. Every time they see a heart, they say ‘a heart like daddy’ so my first thought was to do the heart sign for them. They celebrated with me, and it was amazing.”

While Bautista never really looked like losing a stranglehold on the championship, several crashes including his lap one mistake at Imola opened the door for Razgatlioglu to claw back big points.

Discussing that moment, Bautista told “From Imola, I learnt a lot. Maybe I had more tension than normal. I don’t know if it was because the weather was too hot or the track conditions. 

“I think I crashed because of that. I didn’t have a good appreciation of the reality and maybe, in that corner, I touched the inside kerb and then I crashed. 

“It was my mistake but fortunately I learnt from it. Aragon was a bit different from Imola. In that crash, I was too confident. 

“I had a bit of a gap to second and maybe I was too relaxed. The second one was because I tried to gain two positions in one corner. I could expect that crash because I was over the limit.”

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