Spanish rider secured 3rd fastest time onboard the Ducati Panigale V4 R at his first outing at Autodromo do Algarve in Portimao
The last four days of pre-season testing at Circuito De Jerez Ángel Nieto and the Portuguese race track of Portimao held a lot of importance for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team and their new rider Alvaro Bautista as they are both set to embark on a new chapter this year in the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.
At Phillip Island, the Italian based squad will bring to the field the all-new Ducati Panigale V4 R, which made its debut on the tarmac at the first pre-season test held in November. As they worked on every single aspect of their new machine in the attempt to find a good base setup ahead of the season opener, the Bologna-based factory team went through a busy testing schedule during the four days.
Spaniard Alvaro Bautista, who will debut in the series this year too, took to the track on both the two tests, working on adapting to the WorldSBK machine and making some progress with the setup.
Fourth at the end of Jerez test, just 0.460 s off pacesetter Jonathan Rea, the Spanish star was able to finish in third position at Portimao, providing reassuring feedback to his crew, who have been working on the development of the new red machine also during the winter break.
“These four days have been really good for us. At Jerez I worked on finding back my feeling with the V4 R, but we also tested some new items that Ducati introduced over the winter to help me find a good position on the bike. On the second day, track conditions were better, and I was finally able to find myself comfortable on the bike. Now I am starting to ride the way I want” commented Bautista.
Hitting to the unique Portuguese circuit for the first time, Bautista spent Day One at Portimao learning the track and adapting his V4 R to the rollercoaster layout “On the first day I was out of the line everywhere, and it was very difficult to find the reference for braking. We didn’t change a lot on the bike, just some small details and when I finally found the right line, I started to have fun and enjoyed riding there”.
With the first round of the season just around the corner, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team and Bautista will not have a lot of time left to continue their preparation, but before heading into the first race weekend of 2019 they will still have other two days of Official Winter Testing at Phillip Island to fine-tune the Ducati Panigale V4 R.
“Phillip Island is a race track that I know very well, and I like it too. The last winter test in Australia will be important for us to find the right setup and arrive ready for our first race weekend of the year”.
Watch the full interview, enjoy highlights and more from the last European tests at Jerez and Portimao, all with the WorldSBK VideoPass.