Honda is dreaming of bringing the Superbike title back to Japan and has done so by strongly focussing on Alvaro Bautista, the protagonist in Thursday's live session on our social media channels.
The Spaniard talked with us about the new adventure with the Japanese manufacturer, but at the same time he did not forget the past and the title he missed out on with Ducati against Johnny Rea.
The past is behind him however, and his mind is firmly focused on the present.
"I have to say that the debut with Honda did not go badly - said the Spaniard - in Australia I brought home two sixth places, which I see as positive, in view of the gap from the winners. In the end the weekend was important, it’s a pity everything came to a halt after that, seeing as we needed to put a lot of laps in. "
What do you think of this Honda?
“The bike is new and different from the Ducati, given that it has an in-line four-cylinder, compared to the Panigale's V-shaped one. I need some time to get to grips with it, although I must say that the engine has great potential. But I have to try to have the right sensations with the chassis and the electronics, in order to feel good. Among other things, I remember having tried the road Honda, it's scary, in fourth you're already at 300 per hour ".
What changes between the V4 and the in-line four-cylinder engine?
“As I’m used to the four-cylinder V engine, the in-line one resembles a two-stroke. It seems more ‘badass’ and aggressive than the V4, which is smooth. This is my feeling; the Honda engine seems to be more reactive”.
Do you think this CBR 1000 RR-R is a bike that can win the world title?
“We’ll see what happens. We are certainly called to tackle a difficult situation, given that we only have a few races and a lot of development work awaits us. So I don't know if we will be title-winning material or not already this year, but we know which way to go. "
Rewinding the tape back, Albesiano said he was sorry for not having you with him anymore.
"With Albesiano we had to face two complicated years, given that the Aprilia in some ways was a road bike. However, we managed to have a good development base, too bad they then sent me and Bradl away. Albesiano called me back the following year, but I had already agreed with Aspar."
Going back to SBK, aren't you afraid of struggling like Davies with the Ducati V4?
“To tell the truth I'm not worried. It is obvious that I have to adapt, but at Honda they are working in my direction. Inside myself I know that I will reach my goal and I am convinced that we will do it; in fact, I am serene about it, given that Honda and I want to win. "
Alvaro, on the spot question: did Lorenzo forgive you after that incident at Assen in 2012?
"I remember that accident. On that occasion I missed my braking, came in too long and took Jorge out. I'm sorry about that, I took the blame for it and the race after I started last because of that mistake.
How come Bautista failed to win the 2019 World Championship?
“To tell the truth, I didn't expect to win so quickly with the Ducati and then lose the title. During the season, we made some changes to the V4 and perhaps we made a mistake with the way forward. Then sometimes it happens that you find yourself in negative situations, such as the crashes at Laguna Seca, where I also got injured and my poor knowledge of the tracks. In the end, that’s the way it went."
Last year you came up against Rea. How do you rate him?
“He is certainly the benchmark; he also has a complete bike like the Kawasaki. He has everything under control and as a result he is also the favourite for 2020 ".
How big is the jump from MotoGP to SBK?
“When you have more power it is always more complicated. The first time I tried the Ducati I thought the V4 was not pushing hard, as if there was something broken (smiles). Instead it was all right. The Superbike is different to the GP bike, but it's not a problem. I am happy to be in this environment, which I consider familiar with real fans. "
Have you ever thought about racing the Honda MotoGP? Or do a wildcard race…
"We can talk about it, even if the primary objective remains Superbike. But it would be nice to go for a ride with the Honda MotoGP bike towards the end of the year. "
Which bike has impressed you most of all out of all the ones you’ve raced?
“The 500 two-stroke, although the 250 was well-balanced and precise. It's a shame that I wasn't able to win the title, even though I did some good races anyway”.
Alvaro, what do you remember of that fourth place at Phillip Island with the Ducati MotoGP bike?
“That weekend I struggled with the gearbox and I made several mistakes in downshifting. The bad luck was that in the race, when I had to face the last lap, I made a mistake in changing gears and I missed out on the podium there. Despite everything, however, it remains a great performance that I cherish a lot ".
Rea and Marquez, how different are they?
"They are different. Marquez is one of those riders who always wants to win, that is his goal. Johnny, on the other hand, can manage the situations more, while Marc either wins or finishes second. Marquez is more aggressive and hungrier”.