Two key members of the title-winning manufacturer have given their thoughts on Alvaro Bautista’s appearance in MotoGP™ this weekend
With Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) set for his first MotoGP™ appearance in five years, key figures from around him in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship have given their thoughts on the Spaniard’s wildcard at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Crew Chief Giulio Nava – who jokingly said he was there as a “tourist” before expanding on his role – and Gigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager, spoke on Thursday from Malaysia about the upcoming weekend.
EXCITEMENT AND INTEREST: Nava previews Malaysian wildcard
Bautista’s WorldSBK Crew Chief has travelled with the double Champion to Malaysia although it’ll be Marco Palmerini as his crew chief during the wildcard. Nevertheless, Nava’s experience working with Bautista means he will be able to help Palmerini and Bautista to set up the Desmosedici GP in the best possible way for the Spaniard as he makes his first appearance in MotoGP™ since the end of the 2018 season.
Discussing this weekend and his role, Nava said: “I’m very excited and very interested how far we can go with this new challenge. We can go through this quite relaxed because we already finished our job this season. Let’s see what happens. I’ve worked for a long time with him, so I know him well. We’ll try together with Marco Palmerini, the crew chief of the Ducati test team, to support him in the best possible way to sort out the bike with a reasonable setup for him and try to help him to have fun.”
A GOAL REVEALED: “I just hope to try to stay in the top ten…”
Nava also went on to explain how Bautista has had to adapt between the Desmosedici GP and Panigale V4 R he races in WorldSBK, with the #1 having tests on the MotoGP™ machine on a couple of occasions throughout the year. Not only this, but he also explained what he would like to get from the weekend in terms of results as well as the challenges Bautista will face.
Nava added: “Alvaro has a lot of experience in MotoGP™ so, for me, it was just a matter of recovering all this information. He had to put to the side how to ride in WorldSBK. We did a reasonable number of laps. He recovered all the skills he got, and he was reasonably fast. Of course, it’s one thing in a test and another in a race with the other guys. The tyres are different, the brakes, bikes, aerodynamics… there are many inputs that riders need to sort. I just hope to try to stay in the top ten. I think it’s a fair result for us. If we can do that, I’ll be happy.”
DALL’IGNA’S TARGET: “we want him to enjoy riding the bike, the weekend and racing with us”
A member of ‘Ducati Royalty’, Dall’Igna was also on hand to preview the wildcard when he spoke on Thursday at Sepang. Unlike Nava, he didn’t put a positional target on the record for Bautista’s return, but he did explain what he would like to see from the weekend, as well as praising 38-year-old Bautista for the work he’d done both in WorldSBK and testing the MotoGP™ machine this year.
“I’m really, really excited. Alvaro’s done really well in the last two seasons in WorldSBK, and we wanted to give a gift to him. I’m excited to see him on a MotoGP™ bike again. His feedback is really good. Not only on the lap time point of view, but he’s tried parts to help develop the bike during the season. It’s a nice story to tell so everybody’s excited about it. Seriously, we’re not looking at the results. We want him to enjoy riding the bike, the weekend and racing with us. This is the target.”
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