Alvaro Bautista warns he is a ‘better rider’ ahead of Ducati WorldSBK return

Alvaro Bautista says he's a 'better rider' after two tough seasons on the Honda as he prepares to mount a challenge for the 2022 WorldSBK title with Ducati

Alvaro Bautista - Ducati Panigale V4 R

Alvaro Bautista says he expects to be challenging for the 2022 WorldSBK Championship title despite a tough two seasons languishing in the mid-pack with Honda as he prepares to make his much vaunted return to Ducati.

The ex-MotoGP rider will reacquaint himself with the factory Ducati team in 2022 three years after making his headline-grabbing WorldSBK debut on the Ducati Panigale V4 R, Bautista hitting the ground running with a record-smashing 11 wins in a row.

After his title aspirations went awry thereafter, eventually finishing a distant runner-up to Jonathan Rea, Bautista switched to the refreshed Honda factory team for 2020 and 2021. However, it was a tough two years bringing the CBR1000RR-R up to speed, Bautista completing his stint with only three podiums to his name.

Despite this, Bautista believes the challenge of developing the Honda will put him in greater stead for 2022 when he returns to the proven Ducati Panigale V4 R package, which finished third overall with Scott Redding in 2021.

“At Honda I found a new bike, starting from scratch was not easy. In the second year I expected a big breakthrough, but it didn't happen,” he told Super7Moto. 

“I was hoping to be more competitive. Especially after my first year in the Superbike World Championship, when I was pretty fast and felt really good on the bike,  ”he adds.

“It was very hard. At the same time, I learned a lot. I was fast in my first year in Superbike, so I didn't worry about every detail.

“Over the past two years I've had to take care of every detail so now I know the tires and the class itself a lot better . Now I have more experience and I feel like a better rider. It was fast before, but I really didn't know why. The Ducati was already well developed and easier to use.”