Bautista explains how "a bit less grip on track" helped him to Jerez podium

Sunday, 26 September 2021 14:11 GMT

The Spanish rider scored his second podium in four races in Race 2 at Jerez as he claimed third place after a fifth in Race 1


The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship witnessed two action-packed races at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the Motul Spanish Round, the tenth round of an epic season. One of the breakthroughs in recent rounds has been Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC), with his and the factory Honda team’s surge in form across Catalunya and Jerez. Once again, Bautista was in the mix and took a podium in Race 2 after a fifth in Race 1.

In Race 1, Bautista had to blast through the order from the third row of the grid but was soon inside the top seven, before making his way into fifth in Race 1. However, Race 2 saw him blast on through the field and challenge for the WorldSBK podium. He got ahead of a fading Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on Lap 8 at Turn 6 for fourth, before moving into the podium places at Turn 13 on Lap 18. From there, Bautista took third, his second podium in four races and the 395th podium place for Honda in WorldSBK

Speaking at the close of the day, Bautista reflected on Race 1: “It wasn’t easy to race today. Today, I was just trying to focus on the race. It’s not easy. In the morning race, I struggled a little bit, especially because the track was quite good with grip, so lap times were fast. In that condition, I was struggling with the bike because it becomes more aggressive and more difficult to ride, so I fight a lot with the bike. To finish fifth in Race 1 was really nice because we were riding very similarly to the top riders.”

Race 2 provided even more success for Bautista as once again he started from ninth place, battling his way up to finish in third place after an enthralling battle that, at one stage, was a four-way fight for the podium spot. Bautista now sits on 27 WorldSBK podiums and claimed his third since his switch to Honda, standing on the rostrum twice in 2021 and currently in a rich vein of form.

Continuing to explain the improvements ahead of Race 2, Bautista said: “I thought Race 2 would be harder with hotter temperatures but, in these conditions with a bit less grip on track, the bike becomes easier to ride, smoother and less aggressive. It allowed me to keep some energy for the whole race. We were very consistent and at mid-race I saw that the riders in front of me had a bit less pace than me, maybe a couple of tenths, so I tried to overtake them and keep my rhythm. I enjoyed passing the other riders, braking and some fighting a lot.”

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