Alvaro Bautista: ‘It was crazy, a lot of riders touching’

Alvaro Bautista believes he should have used his extra pace at the beginning of Race 1 at the Australian WorldSBK round.

Alvaro Bautista, Tissot Superpole, Australian WorldSBK, 24 February
Alvaro Bautista, Tissot Superpole, Australian WorldSBK, 24 February

Following a poor qualifying, WorldSBK champion Alvaro Bautista made a stunning getaway to go from ninth to second by the time riders reached turn one.

But Bautista soon lost ground as he was overtaken by Nicolo Bulega and Toprak Razgatlioglu. 

However, it wasn’t until being pushed wide by Sam Lowes that Bautista’s problems truly began.

The two-time world champion dropped to tenth as a result, and despite a quick overtake on Jonathan Rea, Bautista’s recovery ended there as he crashed at turn ten when trying to pass Axel Bassani.

“It was not the start to the season I dreamed of,” said Bautista. “But it could happen. I made a really good start from the third row and got second position. 

“At that moment I had a bit more to get the lead and increase the pace. But I decided to stay there and it was crazy because a lot of riders were in the group, lots of touching and on the third lap Sam [Lowes] touched me and took me outside of turn nine.

“I lost lots of places and when I tried to recover the places I crashed at turn ten. I could not do anything.

“I continued the race with the handlebar a bit too close, but we finished and could get more confidence with the bike.”

Bautista eventually came across the line in 15th, gaining one point as a result of his impressive pace despite the damage.

But when asked what he could have achieved, Bautista said a podium could have been on the cards.

“I don’t know because there were many riders in the group,” Added Bautista. “In the morning I had a good feeling with the pace.

“I think fighting for the podium was possible but I crashed so it doesn’t matter whether it was possible or not. 

“The truth is that I crashed and we have another day tomorrow to try to get more confident with the bike and to take another step forward.”

With team-mate Nicolo Bulega going on to win, the potential for Bautista to do the same should be there.

But the Spaniard is heading into Sunday’s double-header with no expectations.

Bautista said: “You cannot expect anything. Races until the checkered flag can involve everything.

“I will try to make the same start because it was one of the best starts in my life, going from P9 to second. Today I enjoyed passing a lot of other riders.

“There are no expectations for tomorrow."

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