The outcome of Alvaro Bautista's test at Portimao is a twenty-first place that says nothing and everything about the situation and the moment of Honda and the Spanish rider. It says everything because Honda is starting a few steps back from the big names and it says nothing because Bautista is clearly hiding his real cards, hoping to pull the ace out of his sleeve in Phillip Island.
"The tests were quite complicated for us at Honda - said the ex-Ducati rider - We didn't do much at Jerez due to the weather and therefore we had a lot of work to do here. We collected a lot of data for the future and for the development of the bike".
Now the bikes will leave for Australia where you will soon be joining them for the last tests and the first round of the season. What is missing from this CBR?
"The tests before the race will be very important because here, we collected information and we only have an idea of what the next steps could be. I hope I can have everything I asked Honda for."
You didn't look for a fast time today, are you working a lot on the bike?
"Yes, the important thing about these days was to collect as much data as possible in order to understand which direction to follow. At the moment I'm focussing a lot on myself, on improving my feelings on this bike and not on the lap time, because when I start to push, I will need a lot of confidence"
Is there a rider who surprised you in these European tests?
“Everyone's times are very similar. I don't think there is a single name, many have done well these days. But the races are different: there is more pressure, less time and there is no possibility of making a mistake."
Going back to the tests of these weeks, are you happy with the level and the work you have done?
"We did a lot of tests on the bike to gather information and find the right sensations, it is a little difficult to say that we are happy. I am looking for a good base and it is more difficult than I had expected but this is the job I have to do at the moment. During the winter there have been many steps forward on the engine and electronics. Honda now has more time to work in the factory to be able to bring what I asked to Australia. "
New team, new bike. 2020 is a path similar to what you did in 2019 with Ducati. Are you repeating the same steps?
"Yes, I am doing more or less the same as I did last year, the only difference is that in Ducati they had experience on the bike and were more prepared. This project was born three months ago, and we need more time to find ourselves at a good level, we need another three or four days of testing to find myself in the same condition as last year".