Alvaro Bautista has been the star of an almost perfect season in the SBK, with only one misstep during an otherwise impeccable 2022 in Donington but, in the Race of Champions, he definitely took things lightly so as not to risk compromising the real commitment that awaits him, namely the >BK Most round. From the passion of his fans to Toprak’s comeback, we talked about all this and more with Bautista.
"The race was fun," Bautista said about the Race of Champions. “It was the first time I had ridden the Panigale V4s stock on the track and, even if it's a standard bike, it’s really close to the one we use in the SBK. The race was for fun. In the end, our real race is in Most next weekend. Yesterday was entertainment, With Rinaldi, we put on a show for our fans. A fun experience."
Did you expect that to be the case with the WDW?
”I didn't expect it like that. I had heard about it, but it's amazing. You feel the passion of the Ducati fans, who aren’t normal fans. I say that they have a special passion, and being here was a unique experience. Harder than a race weekend. There are a lot of people, and I tried to take all the photos and give out the autographs I could. They were all polite and respectful, and it was really nice. I thank Ducati for letting me be here. It was great."
Did you see any motorcycles that impressed you?
"I didn't walk around the paddock much. It was really difficult. There was almost no room, but I experienced Ducati’s history in the museum and in the factory, and it's an incredible history. It's hard for me to choose one because each model has its own story, its own reason. I think Ducati's entire history is spectacular."
The real Toprak was back in Donington. Do you think the World Championship is changing now?
"Maybe Toprak wasn’t very fast in the first races because he had the GP in mind. He wasn’ t one hundred percent focused on the SBK. Then, when the news came that there was no more room in the MotoGP, I think he forgot about it. He did great at Donington, and so did the Yamaha. It was kind of his track. Beating Jonathan wasn't easy either, but I'm satisfied. All in all, I limited the damage on the most difficult track of the season. I'm confident. I think the three of us are all fighting for the championship until the end of the year, and I hope I don’t make misktakes."