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SBK, Bautista reckons it's his fault there are a lot of former MotoGP riders in Superbike

“Before I arrived, SBK wasn't seen as a high-level, hard-fought championship. But the young guys who come here will have to get used to it, because riding an SBK is not like riding a MotoGP bike."

SBK: Bautista reckons it's his fault there are a lot of former MotoGP riders in Superbike

“The Ducati goes fast on the straight, but that's not enough for me. Let's say that I always want more, because overtaking on the straight is clearly easier" jokes Alvaro Bautista, who tries to laugh at all the controversies triggered by his return to the saddle of the Ducati Panigale V4 R, with which he was crowned 2022 Superbike World Champion. The indictment is the advantage in acceleration that the Spaniard gained from the combination of his weight and the power of his bike: “Let's say that on the straight it's easier to see the difference, or if I have any advantage or not. While cornering, if you take the corners more slowly, it seems that you're not as good, because the fact that it's the combination between your weight and the bike that doesn't allow you to move it like a bigger rider is something you can't see".

Leaving aside the question, on the side-lines of the big party in Bologna, with which Ducati celebrated this triumphant 2022, the Spanish rider reflects on his achievement and on the flavour of this victory, very different from that of the 125 cc title he won in 2006.

“16 years have passed, so there is a bit of a difference. This World Championship is much more special, because when I won in 2006 I was young and fast and my rivals were like me, they too were starting out and we all wanted to win - explains Alvaro - This World Championship, on the other hand, was won thanks to a lot of work by me and by Ducati, which developed a motorcycle for three years, to get to win. Then, the rivals were much tougher, because we beat the best rider in the history of World SBK and the last World Champion, who I think is the most talented rider in the whole championship and is much younger than us. Even so, winning means that our package was almost perfect, because you can always improve. Then, winning a championship is special, but winning it with Ducati is really special, because you feel all the passion behind it. That of the men who work in the company and of all the Ducatisti. Lots of love, which makes you feel as if you haven't won a championship, but a space in the history of Ducati. That's why it's very important."

From Petrucci to Gardner, via Granado and Aegerter, there are several riders with a background in the World Championship who will join SBK in 2023, further raising the level of the World Championship.

“I honestly feel a little guilty for the many riders who are arriving, because perhaps before this championship was not seen as it is now, which is a high-level championship, in which there is a lot of fighting and which is not inferior to MotoGP. It's a slightly different championship, with different bikes and tyres, and it's neither better nor worse than MotoGP. For this I feel a little guilty, because since I arrived the races are much better and it was a battle between three - admits Bautista, explaining the pitfalls that newcomers will have to face - The young riders who are arriving will have to get used to it, because riding a MotoGP is not like riding a Superbike. This is a motorcycle that pumps and that you need to understand well. You have to understand its strengths and weaknesses and how to dance with her. I dance perfectly with the Ducati and I feel great. We'll see the young guys, because this is definitely a championship that is raising its level. The lap times are awesome and in many tracks we are close to MotoGP. In the next few years the level will rise again and it will not be easy to fight to win at all".

After dominating this championship, could the Spanish rider follow in the footsteps of Troy Bayliss and return to racing in MotoGP, with the Desmosedici?

"I'd say that I'd like to do some testing with the MotoGP bike - admitted the 38-year-old - If only because looking at it from the outside it looks like a very fun bike, very technical and with a lot of technology and I'd like to do a test to try it and experience the sensations again of MotoGP bike: carbon brakes, more power and more stability".


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