Championship leader eager to show pace again in the sweltering Buriram heat
Three races gone, three races won. Álvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) sensational hat-trick of wins at Phillip Island caused quite a stir in the WorldSBK paddock less than three weeks ago. This was the kind of domination that has mostly been reserved in recent years to Jonathan Rea and the reigning champions in green, and it even stunned the Ducati rider himself, who now faces the second round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship as the first leader of 2019.
“Australia was a dream weekend and I couldn’t have asked for a better start in World Superbike”, claims Bautista just a couple of days before the lights go out in Buriram. Unlike Phillip Island, the Chang International Circuit is a mostly unknown location for him, with MotoGP™ only taking to the track there last season, three years later than WorldSBK; and despite the two long straights which could play in favour of the powerful V4 R, Bautista is uncertain if the Thai circuit suits him as well.
“In Thailand I got a good result last season in MotoGP™, so I’m feeling confident but Buriram is a track that has different characteristics to Phillip Island because there are more mixed sectors”.
“We will go to Thailand with the same mentality [as in Australia], I know the right feeling with the bike now, so I will try and find it there as well. The Panigale V4 R is still a completely new bike, and the potential is high, but we’ve got a lot of work to do to get it to 100%. I don’t know if Buriram is a Ducati track or not, we’ll just have to see what happens”.
If the V4 R can find its groove quickly in the Pirelli Thai Round it would also bode well for Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who will be hoping to edge closer to the podium after a troubled start in Australia: “I think we’ve probably got a bigger bank of information now so that’s something to work on. As for me, from a comfort point of view and understanding the bike, I’m going into Thailand knowing it much better than what I did when I turned up at Phillip Island, which is positive”.
Find out how the Ducati machines fare around the terrific Thai track this weekend thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass.