The Spaniard is still feeling the effects of an injury he sustained in testing at Jerez after the 2023 campaign concluded but was left optimistic after the latest test days
After revealing a neck injury was impacting him during his MotoGP™ wildcard, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was back on a bike for the first time as he assessed his physical condition and prepared for the upcoming MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign. Although he was able to put in a lot of laps, the double Champion revealed on Thursday that he still had some pain despite improvements with the injury.
Bautista finished outside the top ten on both days, and was down in P16 on Thursday, although his day did finish earlier than a lot of his competitors and he fell down the order in the closing stages. He racked up 80 laps on Thursday with a best time of 1’39.583s, only dropping further down the standings as other riders did a time attack towards the end of the test. Speaking after the Day 2 action ended, Bautista provided an update on his neck.
The Ducati star said: “After Wednesday, the thing for Thursday is that it was better physically. I felt better. Not perfect. I have some pain still when I’m riding, especially in left corners, and I’m not so comfortable but it wasn’t worse than Wednesday. It has been a bit better so that means I’m improving my physical condition. We decided to make some different setups on the bike we chose on Day 1 to see if we find some positive or negative things, like we do in a normal pre-season to make the best base possible for the beginning of the season. We tried some changes to the setup, and we decided what could be better or worse. It was positive because I could do a lot of laps, even with some pain, but the thing is I didn’t have more pain.”
With the injury came a change in his training programme, with the Spaniard unable to train properly until recently as the injury healed. Bautista had been working with his physiotherapist to help speed the healing process up as much as possible but, due to the nature of the injury, it had to heal slowly. The reigning Champion went on to explain how this impacted his training and how he’s hoping for another step with his fitness at Portimao.
Talking more about his training, Bautista added: “I couldn’t train well in November or December, I just tried to recover with the physiotherapist. With a nerve, it’s always very slow and you can’t do too much. You have to wait and not force it. I started my training at the beginning of the year, just a few weeks ago. At the moment, the plan was to check my physical condition on the bike. Fortunately, I can ride. Not perfectly, but I can. I hope to take another step at Portimao. After the Portimao test, we will see. There’s no real plan. We have to go day by day.”
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