Alvaro Bautista admits changing to an inline-four engine has been a key adjustment having spent the majority of his career racing with V4 engines in both MotoGP and World Superbikes.

Since stepping up to the MotoGP premier class back in 2010 with Suzuki, the Spanish rider has competed with V4-powered bikes for a whole decade despite switching between multiple manufacturers.

After a successful rookie year in World Superbikes last season, taking the all-new Ducati V4 R to second place in the riders’ world championship, Bautista opted to leave the Italian factory to spearhead Honda’s new WorldSBK effort with the all-new CBR1000RR-R.

It means Bautista has been adjusting to riding an inline-four engine for the first time in his career and concedes the change has come as a bigger challenge than anticipated.

“I always used V4 in all my career, in MotoGP and World Superbikes. This is an inline-four and it feels very different. I don’t know whether it’s better or worse but it’s very different,” Bautista said on a WorldSBK Instagram live. “Right now, I’m not used to it, but I hope this situation gets better and better, then I can work with the engine and get better with how to use it.”

With the 2020 World Superbike championship starting at Phillip Island before the coronavirus crisis effectively halted all major sport, Bautista completed his competitive debut for the factory Honda squad with a pair of sixth place finishes while ending the sprint race in 16th place after an early fall.

Despite the delays to both the season and the development of the new Honda, Bautista remains confident in finding gains from the CBR1000RR-R and its new engine.

“At the moment, it’s a completely new bike so we need to make a lot of amendments. In the winter tests we worked to get a lot of data. For me the first strong point of the bike is the engine. It is very powerful, and I feel it has a lot of potential,” he said.

“But we must put all the pieces in the right place to push it to use all the potential. It is better to have a lot of power and work to use it than to don’t have power. Right now, we are in the process to get to the maximum potential.”

 

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