Alvaro Bautista ‘didn’t expect tyre problem, it was really difficult to lean’

Alvaro Bautista got his 2024 WorldSBK title defence back on-track with a double top four finish on Sunday at Phillip Island.

Alex Lowes, Alvaro Bautista, Race 2 Australian WorldSBK, 25 February
Alex Lowes, Alvaro Bautista, Race 2 Australian WorldSBK, 25 February

The two-time WorldSBK champion looked poised to win Race but before Alex Lowes swept around the outside of Alvaro Bautista at turn nine.

A bold move, Lowes held on across the line as Bautista had to settle for second. 

But given the dramas of Race 1, Bautista’s podium finish and P4 in the Superpole Race has moved him up to fifth in the standings.

“I’m happy,” began Bautista. “Not only for the second place which I think was the maximum I could achieve today, because it was a really tricky race with the red flag.

“I managed the situation very well and tried to push as much as I could at the end of the race, but I had some tyre problems in the last three laps.

“It was difficult to enter the corners, to lean and to open the gas. But my feeling with the bike improved with every session and that was my target coming here.”

Bautista was closed down by Lowes and Andrea Locatelli during the closing stages and admitted he didn’t foresee a tyre issue coming his way.

“I didn’t expect to have the problem I had. It was really difficult to lean and to go fast in the corners. 

“I didn’t know which rider was behind me but I expected him to not pass me easily. In that corner especially not, I expected easier ones than that one but in the left corners I was not fast anymore because of the rear.

“I tried to be fast in the last corner but it was on the left. He did a really good race and fought to the end.”

Up next for Bautista will be a trip to his home round in Barcelona, a circuit he has dominated during his time in WorldSBK.

Bautista will also test at the Catalan circuit prior to the race weekend as he looks to improve his feeling with the Panigale V4 R.

Bautista added: “The test will be another chance to work on myself and the bike and to get more confidence.

“Our target is that and then, if I feel good with the bike we can try something with the set-up.”

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