Alvaro Bautista concedes he may have to restrain his track action during practice to maintain his fitness battling a shoulder injury sustained at Laguna Seca as he looks to kickstart his World Superbike championship title charge at Portimao.

The early championship leader endured a nightmare trio of rounds at Misano, Donington Park and Laguna Seca as he conceded a healthy points lead over Jonathan Rea and now trails the Kawasaki rider by 81 points with four rounds remaining.

Bautista left the US round without picking up a single point after multiple crashes, sustaining a shoulder separation when he collided with the rear of Toprak Razgatlioglu’s Kawasaki during the Superpole race, and fears the injury will continue to cause him trouble eight weeks on at the Portimao round this weekend.

After completing limited laps during the two-day Portimao test last month, Bautista says he may have to limit his track time again during practice at the Portuguese round to ensure he remains fit for the trio of races.

“The two days of testing we did here last week were very useful, even though I preferred to rest my shoulder on the second day because it was the first time I had been back on the bike since my injury at Laguna Seca,” Bautista said.

“I’ve had a few more days to recover, but during this weekend we might have to change our approach and try and rest the shoulder on Friday to be in a position to tackle the races in the best possible condition.

“Luckily, the two tests I’ve done at this circuit between January and now will be a great help, we have some markers, I know the track better and as a result it will all be a bit easier.”

Off the back of two tests the former MotoGP rider will make his competitive debut at Portimao but faces a tough challenge to claw back points on Rea in the World Superbike standings as the Kawasaki rider has claimed seven consecutive wins at the Portuguese track coming into this weekend.

During the summer break Ducati confirmed Bautista would be leaving its World Superbike team at the end of the year with Scott Redding coming in alongside Chaz Davies for 2020. The Spanish rider is strongly linked with a move to the Honda World Superbike squad for next season.

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