Bautista on Alex Lowes’ sensational pass: "I expected it at easier points… that corner, around the outside, no!"

Monday, 26 February 2024 06:28 GMT

The pair were fighting for victory on the last lap when Alex Lowes attempted an audacious overtake at Lukey Heights for the Race 2 win

After coming into the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round on the backfoot after carrying an injury and adjusting to new weight rules, Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) ended the visit to Australian with a rostrum after a last-lap fight with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). The pair were battling until the very end, with just 0.048s separating them, as the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship kicked off in style.

Bautista had suffered throughout testing with a neck injury that he sustained in a crash at Jerez last year, in the first winter test leading into 2024. He commented during the Official Test at Phillip Island that he was feeling better with the injury, and he was getting closer and closer to the fatsest times as each test concluded. During the round, the #1 could only manage ninth in Superpole before a crash in Race 1 dropped him out of contention, eventually coming home in 15th and taking a solitary point while teammate Nicolo Bulega won.

In the Tissot Superpole Race, the Bautista was able to claim fourth place, directly ahead of Bulega, and only two seconds away from race winner Lowes. Bautista and Lowes battled it out for victory on the last lap of Race 2, along with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) until he crashed at Turn 4. The race was ultimately decided at Lukey Heights, when the #22 swept around the outside of Bautista at Turn 9 to take the lead and victory by just 0.048s.

Discussing the last lap fight, Bautista said: “I’m happy, I think second place today was the maximum I could achieve. It was a really tricky race and with the red flag, it was very complicated. I managed the situation very well and, in the end, I tried to push to my maximum in the race. I had some tyre problems in the last three laps. It was difficult for me to enter the corner, lean and open the gas. I didn’t expect to have the problem I had. It was difficult to lean and go fast in the corners. I didn’t know which rider was behind me. I expected that they could pass me easily. In that corner, around the outside… no! I expected it at easier points. I tried to be close through the last corner but through the left turns, I always had a lot of problems. I couldn’t carry the speed mid-corner so it was really difficult.”

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