The balance drawn up by Alvaro Bautista at the end of the tests in Jerez is a positive one. Albeit slowed down by the after-effects of yesterday's crash, the reigning champion managed to complete 58 timed laps on this second and final day, obtaining important information on the functioning of his Ducati with the addition of ballast.
“It was an important test, because we added weight to the bike; clearly it doesn't behave in the same way with 7 kg more, especially in fast corners - explained Bautista at the end of the day - I struggle to turn it in and make it turn, because there is more inertia which always takes me out. So we tried different solutions, even with the engine, and now we have a clearer idea. Now we will have to analyse the data carefully in the winter to start working on the bike's set-up, because more weight allows you to use a different type of set-up, perhaps with stiffer suspension. When braking, it's a little more difficult to stop, especially when braking fast, which is the part where I suffer the most compared to last year."
The disadvantage of the ballast could translate into the possibility of experimenting with the set-ups and finding new settings for the Panigale, but what Alvaro is most interested in is finding the same sensations he had on the bike this season.
“The goal is to rediscover, with the extra weight, the feeling and the level that we had with this year's bike, because this season we have almost reached the maximum and I think it will be difficult to find something to be able to do more - he admitted - I too will try to work on myself this winter to try to gain a few more kilos, even if I won't be able to gain more than that many”.
Despite having been 1.5 seconds behind Gardner's benchmark, the Aruba.it Racing team rider is much calmer than he was on the eve of this Andalusian race weekend.
“Today I wasn't 100% physically in shape due to yesterday's crash. I have pain in my back, so I didn't ride perfectly, but it was important to do the test today, because the winter is long and we needed to have some references on how the bike behaves - he explained - In the end I am calm and serene, because the feeling is similar to the one before. We only have some problems with inertia in corners, but the set-up can help us with this. It's just a matter of continuing to try and work this winter. I hope to recover my energy this week, and then go to Sepang physically at 100%."
The time lost due to the weather conditions did not allow Bautista to complete a few laps on the Desmosedici, but the Iberian rider is certain that he will still arrive ready in Malaysia.
“The conditions in the morning were not good, so we started lapping at 2pm, concentrating all the work to be done in the afternoon, and I didn't have the opportunity to lap with the MotoGP bike. It would certainly have been a good thing if I had managed to do some laps, but I preferred to acquire more data with the Superbike, rather than working on the feeling with the Desmosedici - added the 38-year-old - Nothing changes anyway, because once I get to Sepang I will change the chip and enter MotoGP mode."
No objectives for the wild card, just a great desire to have fun.
“Sepang is a bonus for me. I hope to have a good feeling with the bike, work well all weekend and have fun. I have no expectations in terms of results. I will try to do the best I can and enjoy the track, which is beautiful and I miss it, since we don't race there" said Alvaro, relishing the idea of being able to enter the fight for the top positions: "I'm not worried about the idea of being able to be in the group of the best. The level is very high and I would sign on the line now to be in that situation! However, I imagine that if I found myself in that situation the important thing would be not to make a mess. If I could win both races I would win both, otherwise not. We'll see what happens. I'm certainly happy to be there that weekend, because they're fighting for the World Championship and it will be a very nice race to watch.”
The level promises to be already very high in Superbike too, where Nicolò Bulega and Andrea Iannone amazed with the speed shown on the Panigale. A surprise for Alvaro too?
“I knew Bulega would go fast, because he's very strong, he's young and it's not the first time he's lapped with the Superbike: he's already done three or four tests, he already knows the bike and has some basic set-up - stated the Spaniard - Iannone on the other hand was a question mark, because no one knew what he would do after these four years. He went very strong and must get back into the rhythm of the races, because it's true that the tests are one thing and the races are another, but his talent and speed are what they used to be."