Bautista battles with Rea and Davies to end 2019 on a high

Saturday, 26 October 2019 18:37 GMT

The 34-year-old Spanish rider was in the thick of the action under the floodlights of Losail…

After 11 race wins to start the season, Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) signed off his 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship rookie campaign with two podiums on Saturday at the Losail International Circuit. A combative Bautista was quick out the blocks in the Tissot Superpole Race and that secured him second, whilst he was a race leader in a thrilling final WorldSBK race of the season, where he would eventually finish in third.

Storming through from seventh on the grid to third almost straight away, before settling down and taking second place from Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Settling down to take second, it was clear Bautista wanted to sign off his first season with a win. Him and Jonathan Rea enjoyed a frantic Race 2, where they swapped paint countless times before Rea eventually pulled the pin and took a 17th win of the season. Davies battled his way through with four laps remaining to go second and despite Bautista’s best efforts on the final run to the line, he had to settle for third.

Speaking about his final podium for the ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati team, Bautista said: “It is always nice to finish the season on the podium, even if for us, this weekend has been very tough. Today, we tried different set-ups. I had some problems with the grip, but maybe we made a mistake, although track conditions were improving day by day. In the end, we went the wrong way, even in the morning Warm Up after a modification, I didn’t feel good, but we managed to finish with a podium.”

It has been record-breaking season for Bautista in WorldSBK, becoming the first rookie ever to win 11 WorldSBK races on the bounce, all of which came in the first 11 races. 24 podiums and a total of 16 race wins, combined with 15 fastest laps, eight front row starts, and 252 laps led, Bautista’s first season could be a warning for what is to come in 2020, when he will take up the Championship challenge on the much-anticipated all-new Honda.

Follow Bautista and Honda’s progress for the 2020 season in an in-depth fashion with the WorldSBK VideoPass!