Alvaro Bautista: "Toprak was untouchable" | Runner-up Nicolo Bulega “thrilled”

Ducati duo Alvaro Bautista and Nicolo Bulega helpless to prevent Razgatlioglu triple in Misano.

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Alvaro Bautista, Nicolo Bulega, Misano 2024
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Alvaro Bautista, Nicolo Bulega, Misano 2024

One year ago, Alvaro Bautista left Misano having wrapped up a perfect hattrick of home Ducati wins for 13 victories out of 14 races so far that season.

On Sunday, the reigning double WorldSBK world champion left the Italian track having lost the world championship lead after a pair of third places, either side of a non-score in the Superpole race.

Instead, rookie team-mate Nicolo Bulega emerged as Razgatlioglu’s main challenger, albeit a distant runner-up in all three contests to take over second place behind the BMW rider in the standings.

After finishing three-seconds from Razgatlioglu in Saturday's Race 1, Bautista fell from fourth midway through the Superpole Race. That left him to start from 11th on the grid in Race 2.

“I made a good start and I could take a good line in the first few corners and recover some positions. After that, I tried to get to my best pace but the feeling from the bike wasn’t the best,” Bautista said.

“We have to keep building my confidence and improving the setup. Obviously, I would have liked to win here in front of the Ducati fans but it was difficult.”

The Spaniard made an admirable recovery to reach third, but his fastest race lap was a worrying 1.031s slower than the charging Razgatlioglu.

“Toprak had an incredible level all weekend and he was untouchable,” Bautista acknowledged. “We did our best and we’ll try to keep improving for the next races.”

Bulega, who led for the first 11 laps of Race 2, set a best lap a more comparable 0.186s from Razgatlioglu.

But it came on lap 2 of 21 and he was helpless to prevent Razgatlioglu riding into the distance after taking the lead.

Nevertheless, it was his highest-scoring WorldSBK weekend so far.

“I am thrilled,” Bulega said.

“Competing for the first time in Misano with the Superbike and finishing all races in second place is, without a doubt, a great result, even though winning would have been a dream.

“ Anyway, I have to say congratulations to Toprak because he has been really fast. Now we will head to Donington, a circuit that I like a lot.”

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