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SBK, Alvaro Bautista and the specter of retirement after Misano

Irrespective of the result, Alvaro's priority has always been one: to have fun riding the bike. In Misano the Spaniard appeared dull, unmotivated, weaponless, accompanied by the knowledge that next year's Ducati will be the same as this season's. So why and how should he stay?

SBK: Alvaro Bautista and the specter of retirement after Misano

As long as we have known Alvaro Bautista in these years of Superbike, we can say that his greatest gift, besides his talent on the track, is his always sunny disposition, that is, a smiling person who is always proactive. In fact, Bautista is like that: one of those riders who never loses his smile and does not forego a joke or two with the people around him, even when he comes out of a race defeated.

Just to give an example, when Rea knocked him down in Race 2 at Magny-Cours in 2022, Alvaro went up to the press room to talk to the media, angrily attacking the Kawasaki rider for his move that took him out. After a few minutes, however, his pissed-offness had practically vanished into thin air to the point where he turned the episode into a laughing matter.

In our opinion, this is perhaps one of the aspects that the entire paddock admires about the world champion, to such an extent that it seems practically impossible to discuss and argue with someone like him.

Last weekend, in Misano, Alvaro Bautista emerged defeated three times in a row from his confrontation with Toprak, leaving the Turkish rider at the top of the World Championship. The disappointment on his part for the knockout was great, but what was most striking was his attitude after the race once he arrived in the press room.

Indeed, Bautista's face appeared dull, unmotivated: that light that has always shone in his eyes, even after a defeat on the track, was absent this time, not perceived. Obviously, Alvaro did not shy away from questions from the media present, but on his part he lacked that panache that has always distinguished him.

Unlike so many other duels lost to Toprak, the message that leaked out from the Spaniard was one in our opinion: "this time I did not have fun." Yes, the word fun, the one he has always put first, even ahead of the numbers and figures indicating his position in the Championship.

The lack of fun on the Spaniard's part is well understandable, because all weekend he found himself fighting more than with Toprak with his own bike. That Panigale that in the last two and a half years has turned out to be a sort of thoroughbred, at Misano seemed like a bolted horse so much so that the Aruba rider struggled to control it ending up on the ground among other things.

Bautista did not mince words in this regard, pointing the finger at the stock model and the need for action. A clear and precise message toward the engineers at Borgo Panigale confirming the limits with which he is now coming up against.

Too bad this is Superbike and not MotoGP, where the scope is quite different. Bautista knows this well: in 2025 the Panigale V4 will remain the same as it was this season, and the blanket is likely to get shorter and shorter unless someone decides to step in to take away this much talked about ballast that he barely digests.

As said before, his priority remains one: to get back to having fun with his bike even before the result! This is precisely why we hope that between Donington and Most the Spaniard will let us see his smile again and that light that has always shone in his eyes. Because if not, his fate is already in danger of being written and it would not even be a surprise.

 

Translated by Julian Thomas

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