Alvaro Bautista on Leon Haslam: He doesn’t look on your side of garage

Alvaro Bautista says he is more than happy to have the experienced Leon Haslam partnering him in his first WorldSBK season with Honda

Alvaro Bautista - HRC Honda CBR1000RR-R

Alvaro Bautista says he is enjoying working alongside Leon Haslam in the Team HRC garage as they work together to bring the new Honda CBR1000RR-R WorldSBK machine up to speed.

The Spaniard swapped from Ducati to the new full factory backed Honda project for the 2020 WorldSBK Championship season together with the experienced Haslam, who in turn switched from Kawasaki.

Though Haslam has gotten to grips with the Honda package quicker than Bautista, who says he is struggling with adapting to the inline-four set-up, the former MotoGP rider nonetheless says he is pleased to have the Briton partnering him this season. 

“He is a really nice guy,” he said. “One thing he’s doing very well is working with his team to develop the bike. He’s not like a teammate who looks into your side of the garage to see what you are doing. He has his feeling and way of working. After that we discuss our feelings. 

“We are working together; on the track we want to win. I’m happy to have him in the garage because he’s a really great person.

“I always used V4 in all my career, in MotoGP™ and World Superbikes. This is an inline-four and it feels very different. I don’t know whether it’s better or worse but it’s very different. And right now, I’m not used to it, but I hope this situation gets better and better, then I can work with the engine and get better with how to use it.”

Bautista’s words could be perceived as a nod to an at times fractious relationship he experienced with Chaz Davies at Ducati in 2019.

The pair endured differing fortunes with the launch of the new Ducati Panigale V4 R with Bautista winning straight out of the box, while Davies struggled to find his form until the second-half of the year when he returned to the top of the podium at Laguna Seca.

However, the two also suffered on-track scuffles, particularly in Portimao when a turn one collision sent the Spaniard to the back of the field.