Alvaro Bautista. Precisely him! The Spanish rider will not easily forget his first time in the Superbike World Championship. Winning when you first debut in a category is indeed a rare thing, so much so that only Biaggi, Takeda, and Kocinski, just to name a few, were able to do so to date.
Some have dared to compare you to the Corsair.
"Seeing my name next to Biaggi's gives me a strange feeling. It's an honor for me," stated Alvaro. "It's great for the statistics, but, right now, I'm just looking towards the future since, here, at Phillip Island, we're facing a challenging weekend."
The other day you said that, to beat Rea, you'd have to do what your Atletico did with Juventus in the Champions League.
"That's right. I tried to do what my Atletico did. Honestly, however, I preferred my own performance." (jokingly)
Alvaro, let's get back to the race. Did you think you were strong on the pace?
"During the race, my pace was slower than it was during the tests," he recalled. "On that occasion, I rode 23 laps, and I was only strong during the first fifteen, given that I felt a drop in the tires. My goal was to manage the pace, without my opponents being able to follow me in the final. In the first half of the race, I was amazed by Haslam's pace. He was fast."
What was your strategy before the start?
"I tried to set a certain pace, so that it was as consistent as possible, and, in the end, I won. Here, at Phillip Island, being confident on your bike is crucial, and, without that, I would have never reached the highest spot on the podium. I'm really happy, also because I was stronger than I was in the MotoGP."
You won with a lead of 15 seconds. How would you answer to those who say that the SBK level is low as compared to the MotoGP?
"I don't think the level is low here, also because, in October, my lap time was one tenth slower than the Panigale V4. This means that I'm really confident with the bike, which allows me to be strong. The level of the SBK is much higher than I expected. In fact, there's a champion like Rea racing in it and many others."
Today, the temperature was higher than other days. Were you worried that something would change?
"Honestly, I wasn't worried. More than anything else, I was worried about the wind, like what happened the days before."
You inaugurated 2019 at the top. Should we expect the Ducati to always be so strong?
"Really, I don't know. Also because, until today, I ran one race! We certainly found a good set up on this track."
Sunday is Superpole Race and a second Race. What can we expect?
"I don't think Sunday will be easy, given that, in just ten laps, there's still a risk of wearing out the tires. We'll have to get onto the track with this mentality."