Bautista ‘back to normal’, back to winning ways?

Alvaro Bautista wants to rebuild his hard-earned WorldSBK series lead as he prepares to make a triumphant return to a second home round of the year in Jerez
Bautista ‘back to normal’, back to winning ways?

Alvaro Bautista is chasing a return to the top of a familiar podium this weekend as he prepares for his second home round of the season at Jerez on the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale V4 R.

The runaway championship leader was pegged by rival Jonathan Rea last time out at Imola, his second and third place results the first time in 11 races he hadn‘t scaled the summit of the podium in 2019.

Though his series lead remains comfortably sizeable at 43 points, Bautista makes it clear he doesn’t want to fall short again this weekend at Jerez, a venue he knows intimately well from his lengthy period in the GP paddock.

Indeed, with Jerez missing from the WorldSBK calendar last year, Bautista has even raced at the southern Spanish venue more recently than likes of Rea and Chaz Davies, even if the venue remains a well-used test location.

“After the last round at Imola, the next race on the calendar is at Jerez, a track I know very well, and so I hope for me that everything will be back to normal,” he said. “For me Jerez is another home race, so we hope to enjoy ourselves here and put on a good show for the increasingly numerous Spanish crowd.”

Looking to dominate as he did when he last raced on home soil at Motorland Aragon – the last time WorldSBK completed a full complement of three races – Bautista is interested to how solutions from last week’s test will also play a part.

“Last week we tested for two days at Misano with a good feeling even though the conditions weren’t great.

“It was an important and positive test for a series of reasons, also for the future, and we did back-to-back tests with various components on the bike rather than aiming for a fast time.”

Bautista has established a favourable record at Jerez over the years in MotoGP, winning in 125GP, scoring a best of second in 250GP and finishing inside the top six over three consecutive years between 2012 and 2014. Last year on the Angel Nieto Aspar-run bike he finished the Spanish MotoGP eighth, one of six top eight results he’d manage in 2018.