The opening round of the 2021 WorldSBK season was a frustrating one for Team HRC riders Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam, as they both had various issues that held them back. 

Bautista suffered from a gearing issue in Saturday’s race one before crashing on the final lap, and things didn’t improve much on Sunday, as the electronic issue arose again along with a wrong tyre choice being made for the Superpole race - results in just 8 points scored from the weekend. 

"Today in the Superpole race we opted for rain tyres and when the track started to dry out the riders who had chosen intermediates or slicks clearly had different pace," said Bautista. 

"In the end we ended up seventh, the second fastest among those who’d opted for rain tyres. The positive thing is that I had a good feeling with the bike in conditions where we have struggled in the past, and that means we’ve taken a step forward in that respect. 

"In race 2, the track was wetter than in the morning and we opted for intermediates, but the asphalt dried quickly during the race. It was the first time I was using these tyres and with a setting that was a bit of a mix, I wasn’t perfectly comfortable. 

"Then, towards the middle of the race I started to have the same electric problem as yesterday and kept struggling to change gear. I had to manage the situation, riding very carefully to avoid taking any risks. 

"It's a shame, because without this problem yesterday we would have been fighting for the podium, and at least for the top six today."

Things weren’t a whole lot better on Haslam’s side of the garage, as he too came away with 8 points from three races.

Haslam also elected for the wet front tyre during the Superpole race, while he also struggled with power delivery problems. 

Haslam added: "The Superpole race did not go well unfortunately, after what was a positive (wet) warm-up. One of the issues was that we should have gone with the intermediate, but we also struggled a bit with throttle delivery. 

"So a difficult race in which I took some risks on several occasions. Then in the final race we went with the intermediate solution, as did most riders, and the pace felt really good. 

"I felt that we resolved the power delivery, as well as a few other things, it was only unfortunate that I then crashed. 

"So even though the results overall have not been what we wanted, I do feel that we were able to make a good step in this final race, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do next weekend at Estoril."

 

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