After tests and free practice, Alvaro Bautista's situation on the Honda had seemed really complicated and after the crash in the Australian morning during Superpole, the Spaniard's chances of having a good race were reduced to the bone. Instead, with sixth place Alvaro surprised everyone by keeping a pace that was comparable with that of the leaders as well as some overtaking moves. But let's start with the bad crash in Superpole, what happened?
"Unfortunately, I had a problem and went onto the grass. At that point I closed most of the throttle and tried to brake but I saw the wall and at that point the choice was between a crash or the wall and I preferred to crash. "
The race, however, was a completely different story even though after the morning’s crash morning you had some physical problems.
“It wasn't easy, I had a problem with my arm and starting from behind I knew I had to overtake a lot of riders. Honestly, though, I think it wasn't a terrible race as we had expected after yesterday's practice. When you don't have a response from the bike it’s not easy to overtake other riders, when I did it, I had everything under control, or I was on the straight. "
What did you do differently in the race to get this good result?
“I tried to keep my pace but towards the middle of the race my arm started to lose strength. The important thing is that I picked up a lot of data even today in the race and that I will try to take advantage of what I learnt from tomorrow onwards. In addition, I also found something to help me be more comfortable on the bike”.
You started the weekend a long way from the top, while today it seemed that you almost had a podium pace. What has changed? Was it just strategy?
“The other riders went quite slow to save their tyres. My pace was the same as during the tests, low 1'31". I did my best and, in these conditions, what I did today was the best I could do. Maybe if I hadn't lost time at the beginning of the race I could have been with the leading group".
This is a favourable situation for you. You gained some points on Rea, who crashed.
"Honestly, he is not my benchmark now, I just have to think about improving myself and the bike. We are a new project and we must continue to develop the bike. I know that now I can't fight with Johnny or the best riders. "
And what about the time scale? How long will it be before you can fight with Rea and the rest? Are you optimistic?
"I don’t know. I’m making steps forward every day with this bike, I’m happy to be here but I don't know when I will be ready to fight with the best. I hope as soon as possible. I always have to be optimistic, and I’m even more optimistic because I have Honda behind me. We have all the tools to do well, they know what my demands are for the future and I know that we will be competitive."
Audio recording by Riccardo Gugliemetti