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SBK, Bautista: "I'll try the bike with ballast; if I find it dangerous, I'll stop"

"I'm here to have fun, I don't want to risk my life. It was said that Pedrosa was at a disadvantage, now in SBK it's the opposite. Redding? It seems clear to me that you get more by crying off the track than by working in the pits"

SBK: Bautista: "I'll try the bike with ballast; if I find it dangerous, I'll stop"


Alvaro Bautista is preparing to be confirmed as world SBK champion in Jerez. He only needs two points tomorrow to keep the No. 1 on the front fairing of his Ducati, but today the Spaniard threw a stone into the pond that cannot go unnoticed. He didn't like the new rule regarding the minimum rider weight at all and Alvaro underlined how incorrect it is (from his point of view), also mentioning the possibility of stopping after testing the bike. These were his words to journalists after the second free practice session in Jerez.

"There are many rules for 2024 and if I have to be honest, for me they are not correct rules. Before it seemed that being light on a motorbike was a problem because it moves a lot, you need strength to hold it and with a heavier motorbike for me it will be even more difficult. I honestly think that for me there will only be disadvantages, as if it were double the work. Look at Pedrosa in MotoGP, everyone said that he suffered because he was small, and the bike was heavy and fast. Now things have changed, being light is a good thing especially here in SBK."

In short, a rule that you don't like.

"I don't think more weight on the bike is correct or safe, I won't be able to take on many kilos of my own. I'll try with more weight on the bike, but honestly, I'm here to race because I enjoy it, I feel safe on the bike. But if I try these rules and I feel that the bike has become more dangerous than necessary, for me it is clear, I stay at home. I don't want to risk my life more than necessary. I will try it, but for me it will become dangerous. I don't want to say that it is an anti-Bautista rule, but in the end they created this rule for me."

That will mean a lot of extra pounds on your bike.

"It's about six or seven kilos. The problem is that the average weight of the riders is 80 kg, but if you go for example to MotoGP, it's much lower. The point is that here there are several riders who I would define as oversized, most of the riders have a physique more like mine. You can't have an equal value for the rule, because there are some really huge riders here. Let's see what happens."

The strange thing is that Redding doesn't like it either and he should benefit from it.

"If he's not happy, he can stay at home. I'm not happy. It's clear that in the end you can earn more by crying off the track than by working hard on the track. That's the truth."

In 2024 there will also be a new calendar and it almost looks like a European one rather than a world championship.

"It seems like we will have a lot of races in Europe, and I don't know what problem there is for Dorna, whether of an economic nature or something else. But in the end, they are doing their best to make a good calendar, but it actually looks like a European championship more than a world championship. I think also that for me there are few races. Maybe they could take away some of them in MotoGP and give them to us, since they complain so much about having too many. Then there are many holes, we start in February, then we finish in October. I know that our calendar is decided after F1 and MotoGP but having a calendar like this isn't good for the riders and the fans. Those who follow the world championship see a race and then have to wait a month, they almost forget what happened before."

Are you nervous about this weekend in which you can be confirmed as champion?

"I'm calm, but you keep talking about it, so it almost seems like you're putting pressure on me! Honestly, I don't think about it, I don't think about the points, about the world championship. For me the goal is to feel good on the bike and give my all as always. My approach here is the same as everywhere else, I want to enjoy the track and that's it. I hope that tomorrow the weather conditions will be better, and I would like to go fast, because here in Jerez when you push hard you really enjoy it."

And the crash?

"The crash wasn't strange; I went over it in the wet. There were lots of patches, and I was always careful to avoid them. But on that single lap I went over them, but at least I didn't have any physical problems."

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