Angel Nieto Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista says that rather than being bitter about his imminent exit from the MotoGP paddock he’s more than excited than ever to get going in World Superbikes after another strong weekend at the Australian Grand Prix. Riding Jorge Lorenzo’s factory Ducati as he continues to recover from injury, the former world champion proved he’s still got what it takes by taking the fight to teammate Andrea Dovizioso for the podium before eventually finishing fourth.
Widely regarded within the Grand Prix paddock as a travesty that the 33-year-old has been left without a ride for next season in the premier class, he was quick to shrug off the issue after Sunday’s race. Set to join Chaz Davies in the factory WSB team next year as they line up with their new V4 Panigale, he says that it was nice to get a reminder of what he really races for.
“Things happen for a reason, and for me to have a good bike to fight for victories on is most important, be it in WSB or MotoGP. I know that here in MotoGP it wasn’t possible to have a competitive bike, so now I’m even happier to go to WSB because I know the potential of Ducati and I know that I can fight for good results on that bike. I like to race but also I like to win, and you can’t win if you don’t have the right bike.”
However, things could have been even better for Bautista during Sunday’s race had he had more time to adapt to the 2018 Ducati. Crashing three times over the weekend as he learned how the machine worked, he admitted that the main change was trying to master a different feeling from the gearbox.
“I saw the chance to fight for the podium, but I made a mistake and missed a gear. But maybe things happen for a reason, because if I didn’t miss it I might have finished in front of Dovi and he’s fighting for second in the championship!”