Alvaro Baustista has the #1 on the fairing of his bike and also next to his name in the rankings at the end of the Phillip Island tests. The world champion started off on the right foot in 2023, but he didn’t just shine in the flying lap. “I did a superporle race simulation this afternoon with the SC0s, 10 laps, then a twenty-three-lap race simulation.” Rivals beware. The Spanish rider is ready to conquer Australia this weekend.
Alvaro, are the others forced to chase?
“I’m not a step ahead of everyone. The race weekend is always different and, these days, many riders have focused on testing material. As always, you have to be very cautious about what you see in the tests. The idea is to try to have the same sensations on the bike, and then we'll see. I’m focused on myself and not on the others. I think everyone will be fast, especially Toprak. He seems to be struggling, but I don’t think he pushed one-hundred percent. I saw him on the track, and he was able to follow me without any problem yesterday. Rea worked on the bike. He’ll be there too.”
What level are you at?
“|I feel good with this bike. We didn’t need to make big changes but just work on the details. Today we focused on the tires, especially bringing them to the race distance. In the morning, I mounted an SC0 on the rear but, on the front, I had to use a soft tire. It was the only one I had, and it was crazy. On the first lap, I almost fell, but when I put the right tire on the front, the sensations were good. I also must say that sometimes you could have an old tire in these tests, heated up several times, but we’ll have all new tires for the race.”
Do you already know which shoes to choose for the races?
“I like the SC0, then two harder compounds. The softer of the two is the one I used for the race simulation, and it gives me good sensations. Logically, the best is the SC0, but it doesn’t reach the end of the race. Maybe it can be used for the superpole race. I used it for ten laps, and I kept a pace of 1’30”, medium-high, without big drops.”
What’s next for the Panigale V4R?
“You always want to improve. The bike is very good, but we have to progress when cornering without gas. It’s a characteristic of the Ducati. We’ve been familiar with it since last year. Then we need to work on stability because, on fast tracks like this one, the bike moves a lot, maybe also because of my weight. If we can solve this problem, I’ll be happy, but I’m not at all disappointed with the evolution of the Panigale.”
Can you explain the problem better?
“To enter, you have to push a lot. But, even in mid corner, you have to bend more, otherwise, the bike takes you outward. Normally, to solve this problem, I let the rear slide, but it’s difficult with the tire we use here, because it’s harder, and it doesn’t have much grip. We need to find a compromise.”
Phillip Island also puts a strain on your body.
“Every track is physical for me, because I have to move a lot!” he said laughing. “On this circuit, it depends a lot on the wind, especially at turn four. Sometimes you feel like you can’t stop the bike, but it’s worse when it’s blowing from the sea.”