Bautista cedes lead, says he is ‘lucky’ after hitting head in crash

Alvaro Bautista was pleased to walk away from his high-side at Donington Park as he turns chaser in the WorldSBK title fight for the first time
Bautista cedes lead, says he is ‘lucky’ after hitting head in crash

Alvaro Bautista shrugged off the consequences of losing the World Superbike Championship lead for the first time this season after crashing out of the first race at Donington Park, instead revealing he is ‘lucky’ not to have been hurt in his sizeable smash.

The Spaniard was running fifth in the wet opener when he lost the rear of the Ducati Panigale V4 R coming around the fast Starkey’s left-hander, the bike gripping sideways to flick him into a high-side before he dropped hard to the track.

Revealing he hit his head hard in the accident, Bautista was more relieved to come away unscathed than worry about the swing in momentum to Jonathan Rea, with his third crash in five races seeing him throw away a 61-point lead into a nine-point deficit.

“Today I was lucky because the grass was really hard, I hit very hard the asphalt with my head so I am very lucky,” he said. “This is racing, some days it happens to you, some days it happens to other riders, in the end you just have to keep working and keep positive.

In what has certainly been his toughest weekend since making his WorldSBK debut, Bautista struggled for pace at Donington Park even before Saturday’s wet conditions added to his troubles.

Indeed, he said he was surprised to be going as quickly as he was considering the ‘shit feeling’ he had on the bike.

“The conditions were very tricky, the track was very slippery and this morning in the wet conditions my feeling was really bad.

“It was like I was riding on the ice, no feeling. We made some changes for the race, which improved a little bit but not a lot, especially at the beginning.

“I was surprised with my shit feeling with the bike, my lap times weren’t too bad. It is impossible to go fast with this shit feeling!”