Alvaro Bautista reveals why his 2019 WorldSBK title bid collapsed

Alvaro Bautista reveals the reasons why his 2019 WorldSBK title bid collapsed around him, blaming changes Ducati made to the Panigale V4

Alvaro Bautista - Ducati

Alvaro Bautista has provided some insight into the collapse in form that prevented him from winning the 2019 WorldSBK Championship despite romping to the 11 consecutive victories from his debut in the series.

The Spaniard, making the switch from MotoGP with the Ducati team on its new Panigale V4, looked to be heading to the title at a canter when he swept to a record 11 wins in a row from his first race at Phillip Island.

However, a series of race day errors saw Bautista cede a 61-point lead over Jonathan Rea after 15 races to fall 81 points behind him during the ensuing 10-race period. Thereafter Rea eased to the title by a massive 165 points, despite scoring just one more win overall than Bautista.

The ex-Suzuki, Honda, Aprilia and Ducati MotoGP rider says he was surprised to be so strong early on in his WorldSBK endeavour, but adds that changes to the bike to consolidate his runaway form instead saw the team go the wrong way in set-up, resulting in a loss of confidence and a series of mistakes.

Even so, Bautista levelled praise at Rea for keeping his cool when he was being defeated early on in the season and not wavering as the momentum shifted back into his favour.

"At the beginning it was a surprise when I won many races in a row and then it was a surprise to have all those problems,” he told the ‘MotoGP Round Table’ YouTube channel. 

“At the beginning I didn't make changes, I was just trying to understand the bike: when we started to try many things on the bike to improve, we lost our way, I lost some confidence, then there was the Laguna Seca accident with shoulder problems. I no longer had the same confidence; then in some circuits we managed to find the right set-up, but we struggled. 

“As for Rea, he was good at the beginning, when I won, to remain calm, always trying to finish second. He gained confidence in himself and on the bikes, he has a lot of experience and has made the best use of the circuits that I did not know. There were several factors: we lost the line and he was very patient.”

Alvaro Bautista explains Ducati to Honda WorldSBK switch

Despite their race-winning success together, Bautista exited Ducati in favour of leading Honda’s renewed factory WorldSBK effort for 2020.

Though the move raised some eyebrows – and prompted Ducati itself to claim he moved for monetary purposes – Bautista insists leading the new Honda effort simply provided him with greater motivation, adding that the manufacturer made him ‘feel important.

“I was very happy with my team: I think the Aruba team could do very well in MotoGP too. I want to thank them for all they have done for me. I decided to change, because Honda motivated me a lot, they showed great confidence in me, they made me feel important to win, they involved me in the project. 

“I'm sorry for the Aruba team, but we are riders and we have to think about ourselves: at that moment, Honda was the best choice for me.”

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