Alvaro Bautista: ‘If I go on the kerb Toprak will go over the kerb’

Alvaro Bautista says Toprak Razgatlioglu was ‘going to try’ no matter how much he closed the door during the final lap of the Superpole Race.

Alvaro Bautista, Catalunya WorldSBK Race1, 23 March
Alvaro Bautista, Catalunya WorldSBK Race1, 23 March

Despite starting on the middle of the fifth row for the ten-lap WorldSBK race, Alvaro Bautista carved his way through the field before taking the lead late on.

The two-time WorldSBK champion was brilliant as he showed signs of the Bautista that was dominant during the last two seasons. 

The start to 2024 had been a considerable struggle, whether that’s pre-season testing or the season-opener as a persisting shoulder injury and difficulties adjusting to the added ballast aboard his Panigale V4 R meant a slow start for the Spaniard.

But Bautista’s performance in the Superpole Race set him up for his dominant Race 2 win in Catalunya, as he beat Nicolo Bulega and Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Bautista led the Superpole Race heading onto the final lap as he looked to hold off the challenge from Razgatlioglu.

But the Ducati rider was unable to do so despite taking a defensive line at the final corner, as Razgatlioglu sent his BMW to the inside.

What Razgatlioglu’s aggressive move did do was push Bautista to the outside, allowing Andrea Iannone to come through and secure second.

Post-race, Bautista said: “I enjoyed that battle with all the guys a lot. I just missed the win in the last corner.

“I knew Toprak was going to try, which ever line I took! I tried to close it a little bit but not too much because I thought, ‘if I go on the inside kerb, he’ll go over the kerb’.

“In the end, I tried to manage but he entered to pass me rather than taking the corner. In any case, I was happy with the performance.

“When everyone is pushing, starting from further back was hard. I could take the lead on the last lap at Turn 1.

“In Race 2, I changed tyre choice on the grid. I did the sighting lap with the X tyre and the feeling was much better. It worked.

“In the first laps, I was very slow, but no one passed me! When I saw Nico pass me, I thought it was normal. I kept calm.

“When I caught him again, I thought it was possible to keep that pace until the end, so I took the lead.

“I could be very precise with my riding, concentrated all race, so I’m happy with the win and the way we won. Step by step, my confidence and feeling with the bike is coming.”

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