Bautista dedicates Jerez win to late grandfather

Alvaro Bautista savours an emotional 12th win of the season on home soil as he reveals his grandfather passed away only days earlier
Bautista dedicates Jerez win to late grandfather

Alvaro Barbera paid tribute to his grandfather in the wake of his resounding victory in the opening World Superbike Championship race of the weekend at Jerez following his death earlier in the week.

Unable to scale the top step of the podium last time out in Imola, the championship leader returned to winning ways in style during the first WorldSBK race at Jerez as he swiftly dismissed Jonathan Rea’s burgeoning challenge.

Indeed, though Bautista missed out on pole position to the Kawasaki rider by 0.026s, he waited until only half-around the opening lap to make his play, snatching a lead he’d multiply to seven seconds by the chequered flag.

“I’m really happy with this great win today,” the Ducati rider said. “This morning we made a few small changes to the Panigale V4 R which allowed me to improve the feeling. In the Superpole we did a very fast time and managed to get onto the front row, which was our aim.

“In these conditions, because of the high temperature, I used up a lot of energy and also had to manage the tyre wear in the best way possible. On the opening lap I took the lead of the race and made my own pace, which I was able to administer until the chequered flag.”

The win is already his 12th of the season and the fourth to be achieved on Spanish soil this year, with two more races to come this weekend to succeed in front of his family, friends and fans.

This race, however, resonated with greater poignancy for Bautista after revealing his grandfather had died in the run up to this event.

“I’m very happy to win again after Imola, and I’m proud to be the first Spanish rider to win an SBK race here at Jerez, in front of all my family, friends and fans. I want to dedicate this win to my grandfather, who passed away a few days ago, for sure he gave me extra motivation for this victory.”

With Rea classified fourth after he was penalised for a clash with Alex Lowes, Bautista has swelled his advantage back out to 55 points.