Alvaro Bautista says feeling “like an important person in this project” became a key reason behind switching to the new HRC factory World Superbike effort for 2020 after splitting with Aruba.it Racing Ducati.

In a season of contrasting halves, Bautista romped to victory in all of the opening 11 races which extended to 14 wins from the first 18 races in total but since then the Spanish rider has claimed just one win in the past 10 races.

As a result, Bautista has gone from favourite to clinch Ducati’s first World Superbike crown since Carlos Checa in 2011 to leaving the factory team and replaced by fellow ex-MotoGP rider Scott Redding.

After remaining tight-lipped over his future since Ducati announced Redding would replace him in its 2020 rider line-up, Bautista feels the opportunity to develop a new bike with HRC and try to fight for the world title was one he couldn’t turn down.

“It was not easy because I am really happy with the Ducati family because we started the season with the new bike, new project and we won a lot of races,” Bautista said. “So it was not easy but in the end the project HRC offered me motivated me a lot because we start from zero, so I feel like an important person in this project.

“It is difficult to put a target for 2020 but for me my idea is to work well in the winter test and arrive at the first race in the best way possible. I want to fight for victories from the beginning, but we will have to see how everything is.”

With Bautista unable to start HRC testing until the winter at the end of the current World Superbike championship, the former 125cc world champion says he’s fully focused on a strong finish to his rookie campaign in the production-based series.

After returning to winning ways last time out at Portimao in Race 2, Bautista wants to reel in Jonathan Rea’s 91-point advantage over the final three rounds starting at a circuit he concedes will act as a steep learning curve having never competed at Magny-Cours in his career.

“My shoulder is much better than at Portimao, so we will immediately see what it’s like when I go on the track,” he said.

“I think I will have no problem to ride, but it will be very important for me to do a lot of laps on the track, learn the layout and be competitive in the race. We have to try and keep cutting the gap to Jonathan.”

 

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