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SBK, Bautista: "I have a doubt, what I could have done in the MotoGP with the factory Ducati"

"Dall'Igna already wanted me in SBK at the time of Aprilia, now we've evened the score. It's ironic: when Ducati wins they say it's thanks to the bike, when Yamaha does it it's due to the riders"

SBK: Bautista: "I have a doubt, what I could have done in the MotoGP with the factory Ducati"


The championship is over, but not Alvaro Bautista's commitments. "I virtually live in Italy now" joked the Spaniard who in recent weeks has been going from one event to another to celebrate the title won with Ducati and the Aruba team. In these days he is at the 'home' of his team owner, for the inauguration of two new Data Centres in Ponte San Pietro, on the outskirts of Bergamo.

Even in the midst of so much technology, with Alvaro we end up talking about bikes, regulations and, of course, the World Championship won, his second after the one in 125 in 2006.

“Unlike 16 years ago, this time I'm more aware of what happened, I'm less excited - smiles Bautista - The first time I was 21, now 38, so my mentality is different, I'm living this moment very well, with my family, my children, my friends. I'm happy, but above all I feel proud because I gave my best, I tried to improve myself to show that I was competitive first with myself and then with those who said I should have retired. I feel that I can still progress as a rider, my job is not finished".

Was it difficult to wait so long to win another championship? Did you ever think that maybe you would never be able to do it again?

“I don't think certain things, but in 250 I was close to winning the title twice. Then when I moved on to MotoGP it was difficult to succeed because for so many years I didn't have a factory bike, in fact I only had them with Suzuki and Aprilia, but in both cases the situations were complicated. Then when I arrived in SBK I saw that there was an opportunity to do it, because I had a good bike and a good team. I have only one doubt left."

Which one?

“In 2018 I replaced Jorge Lorenzo at Phillip Island on the factory Ducati and I still think about what I could have done if I had the opportunity to race a season with that bike. Maybe I could have won, maybe not, but we will never know (laughs)”.

Will Dall'Igna let you try the Desmosedici as a reward for the title?

"I don't know, I'd like it because it looks like a very fun bike and many riders are going fast".

Dall'Igna had already courted you when he was still in Aprilia.

“Every year, in December, he called me and offered me to go with him in SBK, but at that time I was only thinking about MotoGP. Now we are evens (laughs)”.

Was there a message after the title that struck you more than the others?

“One special was the one from Carlos Checa, because he was the only Spanish rider to win the SBK World Championship and the last one on the Ducati before me. We met in Valencia, in the last MotoGP race, and he wanted to congratulate me in advance ”.

It was a historic year for Ducati with your victory in SBK and Bagnaia's in MotoGP, why do many diminish the value of you two as riders by praising the bike more?

“The Ducatisti have a lot of passion and believe that the Ducati is always the best bike, so if you win it’s for that reason, but in truth you need to have a good package made up of bike, rider and team to do it. What seems ironic to me is that in MotoGP it hasn't won the riders’ title since 2007 and in SBK since 2011, for all those years people and other manufacturers said nothing, while now they say the bike is too good. Last year it was Yamaha that won the two championships and they only gave the riders credit, while now it's the other way around (laughs). Nothing changes for me: I won."

Does this bother you?

“No, because anyone who understands motorcycles knows how things are. I'm proud of what I've done, it's easy to talk and make judgments from the sofa".

Speaking of complaints from rivals, there is more and more talk of a ballast on your Ducati for next year...

“I've always said the same thing: with these bikes weighing 170 kg and more than 240 hp, honestly the rider's weight isn't the key to winning. The heavy riders see the possible advantages that the light ones have, but not the disadvantages, in the corners, in the way we have to ride, in weight transfer, these are all problems. All riders have problems, but if you also make the advantages for light riders a disadvantage, then we will only have problems. Furthermore, weighing down the bike decreases safety, in the event of a crash the run-off areas should be increased. I don't know what they want to do, but instead of ballasting the light riders' bikes, I would propose to lighten the heavy riders' bikes. I know they'll say it takes money to do it, but ultimately it takes a compromise. I don't know what they will decide, but it would be good if whoever makes the regulations was a rider and understands what happens on a bike to arrive at a logical change. The same is true for those in Race Direction, because we have seen some rather stupid sanctions because whoever decided them did so by looking at the images but without knowing what happens when you are on the bike and why they do certain manoeuvres".

Weights aside, next year you will be the man to beat.

“The level of SBK is rising a lot and I'll be in that position. I don't feel greater pressure, at least for now, and I will try to have the same mentality as this 2022, that is to try to make as few mistakes as possible and get the most out of every situation. You have to stay calm and concentrated, looking only after yourself".


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