Friday nightmare to stunning Sunday comeback: confidence restored for Bautista

Monday, 31 May 2021 09:15 GMT

The Team HRC rider was able to take flight on the last day after starting uphill due to the three falls suffered during theopening day of the weekend

The last day of racing at the Estoril Circuit partially compensated for Alvaro Bautista's rough start at the Estoril Round Gaerne. The three crashes marred his getaway on Friday during the two free sessions and his morale was low, especially because not even he himself could explain how and why they had occurred. Then on Saturday morning, if things couldn’t get any worse for him, his best lap in Tissot Superpole did not count due to yellow flags being shown at Turn 1, shoving the Honda rider to 18th place on the grid. A challenge for Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race, which Bautista tackled head-on and with great pace in the races.

Saturday’s Race 1 saw him come home with an eighth place that restored part of the confidence lost the previous day. In the short race that opened the action on Sunday, he only managed tenth position. Forced to start again from the sixth row of the grid, the Honda rider started very strongly and on the second lap he was already eleventh. On the fourth lap, he moved to tenth position and found a good rhythm to continue going forward to seventh place on Lap 15, holding the place until the end.

Bautista summed up his impressions at the end of a certainly hectic weekend: “Race 2 was another comeback race, starting from 18th position. In the Superpole Race, I missed ninth by just one position, but it was the maximum we could do. At the end in the afternoon, the track was slippery, and I had a lot of problems with the front, and I was almost crashing at every corner; I was very close to the limit. In the end, my pace is not too far from the top five and I think today, we could’ve fought for the top five, but starting from the back, it is difficult to recover the gap. It’s a pity because yesterday in Superpole, when they cancel my time for the yellow flags, then I miss the opportunity to fight for good positions today and yesterday.”

Bautista left Estoril with 17 more points to his name, and is 11th in the overall Championship standings, one place ahead of his teammate Leon Haslam, who has 16 points. But the most important thing is that he regained good feelings with his Honda CBR1000 RR- R after the confusion of the first day and that now, he also has the areas to work on and understand why the bike changes from track to track.

“Yesterday and today were important for me and my confidence, sincerely, now I feel like I did before Friday,” said the HRC rider. “I am happy because now my confidence starts to return again and for sure, for the next race, I will arrive quite strong. Also with the bike, it’s a little bit strange. At MotorLand Aragon, the bike feels better with more performance, but here from the Friday, we found some electronics problems such as engine braking not working like at Aragon and power delivery was a bit different too; we didn’t change a lot from Aragon, only the track! But the bike changed a lot, and we need to find out why the bike is so different from one track to another, so we have a lot of work to do, especially to find a bike that is balanced at every track and in every condition.”

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