“I enjoyed it… a really impressive comeback!” – Bautista delighted after stunning Sunday at Assen

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) ended the Pirelli Dutch Round with a Tissot Superpole Race victory and a second place in Race 2, leaving him delighted heading into his team’s home round next time out. The results have given him the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standings lead over Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) by just six points after a dramatic Sunday at the iconic TT Circuit Assen.

Bautista started the Superpole Race from seventh place and found himself as low as ninth on the first lap after running wide while trying to pass former teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing), but soon charged up the order to move into second place with a few laps to go. From there, he set his sights on 2024 teammate Nicolo Bulega out in front. He made light work of the #11, passing him through the final sector before pulling out 2.6 seconds on his rookie stablemate.

That set him up for Race 2 with first place on the grid and he took advantage of that to lead through the opening few laps, before the rain started to fall to add an extra dimension to the race. Lots of riders took turns leading – Bautista, Razgatlioglu and Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) included – with the last two Champions fighting for victory. In the end, it was the #54 who claimed the win after passing Bautista on Lap 16 at the Geert Timmer Chicane.

Reflecting on his win and podium on Sunday, Bautista said: “Race 2 was like all weekend, really tricky and difficult because conditions were really changing. In the morning Superpole Race, I had a good feeling with the bike, and I could push 100%. The conditions were more stable than the rest of the weekend. It was the first time we had normal conditions. I enjoyed it, especially the first laps where I battled a lot with other riders to make a really impressive comeback. In the afternoon, I had a good start. I tried to keep my pace. I was quite confident, making good lines, but then it started to rain a little bit and it basically never stopped lightly raining during the race. In one part of the race, it started to rain a bit harder in some areas. We slowed down a little bit, then, after I tried to push again, I think the rear tyre cooled down too much and I couldn’t get the temperature to push at the end, so I didn’t have the same feeling as the start of the race. To finish on the podium was important. It’s been a really tough weekend.”

The results on Sunday mean Bautista has taken the Championship lead for the first time this season, after a difficult first couple of rounds for the reigning Champion. He leads Razgatlioglu by six points with Bulega in third, the smallest gap between the top two after nine races since 2020, when Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) led Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) by just four points.

With the lead in his pocket, Bautista explained what he wants to achieve next time out at Misano. He said: “I think you can expect what you want to expect! What’s important for me is in Barcelona, we found something that helped me to ride like I wanted again and also here we used the same base setup as Barcelona because in this weather, we couldn’t work on the bike. At Misano, I hope to have better or more normal conditions and try to take a step forward. In the end, the results are the consequences of the good work.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

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