Bautista hoping to leave Honda with ‘competitive result’ ahead of Ducati switch

Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam will take part in their final WorldSBK races with Team HRC at this weekend’s inaugural Mandalika round.
Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam, Czech WorldSBK race2, 8 August 2021
Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam, Czech WorldSBK race2, 8 August 2021
© Gold and Goose

Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam will take part in their final WorldSBK races for Honda at this weekend's inaugural Mandalika round.

Bautista, who joined Honda from Ducati at the beginning of last season, will be returning to the Italian manufacturer for 2021 following another tough campaign on the CBR1000RR-R. 

Despite competing in 11 more races than the entire 2020 season to this point, Bautista has accumulated just 37 more points - is also one place lower in the championship than last year as it stands.

But with all that said, recent rounds have seen the former MotoGP rider demonstrate solid potential; no doubt a reason why Ducati wanted to bring the Spaniard back. 

Three top fives in Catalunya and a further two in Portimao - includes two podiums, has shown that Bautista can get everything out of the bike that’s underneath him, something Ducati will be hoping can be the case next season as they look to win a first title since Carlos Checa managed to do so in 2010. 

But before moving back to Ducati, Bautista has one final round with Honda which is a race weekend he’s hoping to be very ‘competitive in’.

Bautista added: "I am very excited for the last race of the year. It’s been around a month since the last round, which is a bit too long really, but I’ve had chance to spend some time with my family after a very intense period this summer. 

"I've also been able to train well in recent weeks in preparation for a track that is new to everyone. 

"I’m looking forward to going to Indonesia because there is a great passion for our sport there and a lot of fans. It is always exciting to discover a new track. I have seen some videos and it looks to be a great new track. 

"I think it's a good opportunity to enjoy the end of the season. On Friday we will focus on finding our references, both in terms of the riding and technically speaking, and we’ll need to work quickly so that we’re as prepared as possible for the races. 

"I would like to finish the season with a good result for Honda so hopefully we can be fast and competitive in Indonesia."

Like Bautista, WorldSBK’ first round at the newly-built Mandalika International Circuit will be his last for Honda. 

What will be different for the Brit compared to his Spanish team-mate is where his future lies. Haslam is still unconfirmed for 2022 whether that’s a stay in World Superbike or a possible return to BSB. 

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Haslam added: "I’m really looking forward to Indonesia, for several reasons. Firstly, it’s a new track for everyone, which makes things exciting. 

"It’s also the last round of the championship of course, as well as my final event with Honda. 

"The new circuit looks like a fantastic place so I hope we can all enjoy it, and from what I’ve seen, I think the Honda might go well there too, around what is a more flowing layout. 

"I’ve recently had shoulder surgery, so fingers crossed I’m in good shape as it would be really great to bid farewell to 2021 in a positive fashion, finishing the season on a high."

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