Alvaro Bautista can’t hide a bit of disappointment after a 7th place more than 10 seconds behind the winner in Race 1 at Jerez. The Spaniard, after the last tests, believed he had sorted the CBR1000RR-R but in today's torrid heat his hopes evaporated. Honda has a completely new bike, but it will take time to set it up.
“Honestly, after the tests, I expected to experience better sensations in the race - he admitted - I am not talking about the result as much as about my sensations in the seat. We worked well this weekend, then this morning I tried a different set-up, also regarding the gear ratios, but I didn't like it very much. In Superpole I also tried a tyre that I had already used in the past, because it allowed me to do 7 or 8 laps, but it didn't work well".
In fact, even the qualifying sessions did not go very well…
"Maybe in Superpole I didn't use the full potential of the rear tyre, because it had a lot of grip but it was jumping a bit - he explained - I tried to be very sweet with the gas, the situation improved, but by now I had done a lap and in the second the performance of the tyres was worse. In any case, my lap time was not bad. "
In the race, however, the limits of the bike came out and it was not a cold shower…
"The changes we had made in Aragon allowed me to have more confidence in the front, I could force more and make the bike turn, instead in the race I had many problems in that area - continued Alvaro - I think the cause was the temperatures over the limit, there were 10° more than in the tests, in fact in every single curve I lost the front. On the third lap, at turn 4 I made a rescue like Marquez's two weeks ago, I was lucky not to go off the track, but I lost at least a couple of positions ".
Bautista, however, was unable to make a Marc-style comeback, instead he had to try to limit the damage…
“I felt the front tyre slide in every single corner, I couldn't force it. That's why I expected better sensations” he said.
The biggest difficulty now will be to patch up the problem...
"I am not worried because it is exactly the problem that HRC knows it has to solve to improve the bike, even if it will certainly take time to do it - Alvaro underlined - In a certain sense I am happy because with these conditions I was able to show perfectly where the problem is. I improved my confidence with the bike, but there are still things to do and we know what they are. Even from the images on TV you can clearly see how the trajectory goes wider in the middle of the curve. In the heat it gets worse because the grip decreases. "
No one ever has a magic wand in racing, so Alvaro does not expect that a change in the set-up will be enough to recover those tenths that are currently missing.
“I don't think so - he admitted - especially in a championship like this. Tomorrow there will be another race to do with the bike you have. We are thinking about how to solve the problem at least a little bit, especially in extreme temperatures, we will certainly try something, even for the future ".
Reading between the lines, the impression is that the chassis has some limitations but in SBK you cannot do much (to say the least) in this respect.
“I spoke a lot with Alberto Puig, he is pushing hard with HRC, but in the end you cannot make a new chassis, the rules are these and you have to use this bike. The CBR is a perfect bike for the road, but for the races we have to make some changes and it's not easy. Maybe we won't solve the problem, but they can be used to help us build the bike for next year," he concluded.
Audio recorded by Riccardo Guglielmetti