“The feeling with the bike is not the best” – Bautista talks struggles, mounting Championship gap

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is firmly back, and Round 4 has come and gone at Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”. One rider who struggled much more than many expected was reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who found himself outclassed at times by teammate Nicolo Bulega, and especially by hat-trick hero Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team).

“THE MAXIMUM WE COULD HAVE FOUGHT FOR WAS THE PODIUM” – Bautista still unhappy with setup struggles

Reigning Champion Bautista was asked about the struggles he continues to endure onboard the Panigale V4 R, specifically in relation to the setup issues with the bike. On Sunday morning, Bautista was able to finish P4 in the Warm Up, but he appeared to struggle for large periods of the session. The Ducati rider had a nightmare Superpole Race, suffering a crash before finishing in a lowly P17. Race 2 saw a much improved performance, with Bautista ultimately finishing on the podium in P3, but he was still far from happy. Addressing his struggles on the bike, Bautista said: “This weekend, the maximum we could have fought for was the podium. The problem is, we are not at our best. We have changed the bike more than during the entirety of last season. The feeling with the bike is not the best.” Bautista then further elaborated on Ducati’s setup issues with the front end, saying: “We don’t know exactly what we need. I feel a lot of difficulty with stopping and entering the corner…we are missing traction.”

“TOPRAK HAS MADE A GOOD STEP” – Alvaro on trailing the championship

Last year, Alvaro Bautista was comfortably leading the Championship, whereas now, he is trailing by a growing margin. Whilst everyone has been amazed by the revelation that Toprak Razgatlioglu has proven to be for the Bavarian team, it is still a stark reversal of fortune compared to just twelve months ago. When asked for the reasons behind this (aside from the setup/technical issues), Bautista was very precise in his views, saying: “First of all, we have to find our best performance on track. Toprak has made a good step with the BMW, but Nicolo is also doing well. The big problem is me; we are not competing like we did last year.” Bautista has been consistent in his view that the feeling on his bike is not as good as it should be. He will be hoping for that to change in between the Championship returning to Donington Park for the UK round.


Lastly, Bautista was pushed again on his plans for the future. The Champion’s future has been the subject of never-ending speculation since the 2024 season began, with gossip and speculation reaching fever-pitch this weekend. When asked if a decision had been made one way or the other, Bautista responded with this: “It was important this weekend to rediscover the feeling on the bike this weekend; unfortunately, I did not! (laughs) I did say that I would make a decision after Misano, but this could be tomorrow, next month or next year. At the moment, I haven’t spoken with anybody. If I have something clear, I will make a decision. If not, I will wait.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

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