Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista loses 19 points to Toprak Razgatlioglu in race one at the WSBK in France and explains why he suddenly rolled out
Superbike World Champion Alvaro Bautista went into the first race of the weekend at Magny-Cours as favourite (see race report), but only finished in tenth position. The day started almost perfectly for Bautista. In FT3, the Spaniard set consistently strong times and took the fastest time. In Superpole, only BMW rider Garrett Gerloff was faster. But in the race, a problem pushed Bautista to the back of the field.
On the third lap of the race, Bautista left the racing line at the exit of turn 5 and signalled that he had a problem. The engine of his Panigale V4R stopped running and had to be restarted. The problem caused Bautista to lose about 18 seconds. His race to catch up ended in tenth place.
“It was a strange Saturday,” the world champion summed up. “My feeling in the morning was good. I did a good lap in Superpole. The bike was fantastic. We chose the soft rear tyre at the last second. I felt very comfortable with it in the morning and thought it could be a good choice for the race. “
Electronics go crazy: no full power after the start
“My start was good but I felt the engine was causing some problems. It felt like the power was too low. In the first few laps I didn’t have the pressure I was used to from the engine. When I wanted to go on the gas again in turn 5, the engine went out,” described the Ducati rider.
Bautista was irritated, but realised that the race was not over yet. “I saw on the display that the bike was still active. Only the engine was switched off. I saw the message that the bike could be started,” Bautista reported.
– WorldSBK (@WorldSBK) September 9, 2023
“The engine started again and the bike worked normally again. I had the usual power again. Everything was normal. I rode the race and I’m happy with my performance,” explained the World Championship leader, who battled his way from 24th to the top 10.
Catching up was “a lot of fun” for Alvaro Bautista
“I had a lot of fun because I was able to catch and overtake the other riders. But it was a shame because without the problem we could have fought for the win. But anything can happen in racing,” the long-time Grand Prix driver knows.
Bautista was 13.2 seconds behind winner Toprak Razgatlioglu after 20 laps. If you subtract the 18 seconds due to the problem on lap three and the time lost due to the overtaking manoeuvres, Bautista would probably have lived up to his role as favourite.