HONDA WORLDSBK STAR ALVARO BAUTISTA MADE UP FOR DISAPPOINTMENT IN PORTUGAL LAST TIME OUT WITH THREE TOP TEN'S IN ITALY THIS WEEKEND
RICH Energy Ambassador Alvaro Bautista was back in World Superbike action this weekend at Misano as the championship entered its third round. Under a blazing sun and with a host of improvements to his Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade, the Spaniard was looking for three strong results on the Adriatic coast.
9th fastest in Qualifying set the tone for the weekend as the former MotoGP man made strong improvements after a crash-strewn Estoril round last time out. Continually out-pacing his teammate, Bautista looked more and more at home on his machine and a top ten in qualifying was a just reward for his efforts in Italy. A good start from Bautista in the opening race of the weekend saw the Honda pilot make up two places by mid-race. A battle with Tom Sykes in the closing stages saw the RICH Energy man get the better of the Englishman to claim a solid 6th place finish and a welcome 10 points.
As usual, Sunday held two races for the World Superbike competitors, first up was the shorter Superpole race and then later the longer and strangely-monikered Race 2, despite it being the third race of the weekend... Starting 11th on the grid, Bautista made a storming start to claim a couple of places in the opening laps of the 10-lap dash but faded towards the end, bringing his Honda home in 10th place.
The final race of the weekend was to be another gruelling battle not only with the competitors on track, but with the heat of the day, too. After making yet another strong start, Bautista held 7th place for the majority of the race before being pipped in the closing stages to come home in 8th place.
After the race, Alvaro Bautista said, "Today was tougher than yesterday because in the Superpole race we had a problem with the set-up that affected our whole race, in that I couldn't lap as fast as I did yesterday. Finishing outside the top nine also dropped us back on the grid for Race 2. I'm sorry because it was a small mistake, but it prevented us from performing well. In Race 2 I was able to make a good start and gain a lot of positions but, on a more slippery track and considering the braking and corner entry problems we’ve been having all weekend, I struggled more than yesterday. In the end I think eighth was the best possible result today.
We have work to do, we know that, but we’ll get it done. I just want to thank HRC and the team as everyone’s working hard on this project. We will be back on track soon for some testing at Navarra and it will be very important to understand the track, one where we’ve never ridden of course, but also continue to work on the bike using the data we have collected this weekend".