Are Ducati or Bautista the true WorldSBK Champions?

Alvaro Bautista won the WorldSBK Championship this season with Ducati, but did machine play more part to this than the rider himself?

Alvaro Bautista celebrates world title in Indonesia. - Gold and Goose

Last weekend Alvaro Bautista claimed his first WorldSBK title in race two of the Indonesian round at Mandalika. This title win was Bautista’s first since his 125cc Grand Prix title in 2006 and Ducati’s first World Superbike title since 2011.

However, many fans and rivals believe that the main reason Bautista clinched the title was due to the straight-line speed advantage of the Ducati. It was clear to see for everyone who watched World Superbikes this year that the Ducati became a rocket ship when in a straight line. 

Many of the races that Bautista won this year featured him passing his title rivals down the straights. The straight-line advantage helped Bautista as it would largely reduce his chances of being overtaken in the braking zones at the end of straights. Which would also gain Bautista a needed advantage into corners where Yamaha or Kawaski riders were more dominant.

It is however undeniable that Bautista put together a brilliant season and minimised his mistakes compared to 2019. The Ducati is a weapon in the hands of Bautista, potentially due to his size, but when it comes to other Ducati riders they were not as dominant as the Spaniard.

Was there a more worthy WorldSBK champion?

Despite Bautista putting together a near errorless season many still believe other riders would make a more deserving champion. 

When you look at this season there were only three riders who really could have claimed the crown. These three riders were Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea. 

Avid World Superbike viewers who have watched the Championship for the last few seasons have argued that both Razgatlioglu and Rea put together their best season yet in World Superbikes this year. However, both riders fell short of the title as they sit second and third in the standings.

It has been clear to see all year that both Razgatlioglu and Rea have been on the limit and their Yamaha and Kawasaki machines did not look anywhere near as competitive as the red Ducati missile.

Kawasaki were denied an extra 500rpm for their ZX-10RR which would have helped the green machine become more competitive down the straights. With the extra RPM that Kawasaki believe they deserved then the 2022 season could have been a different story for six-time World Superbike Champion, Rea.

At the start of the season Yamaha struggled when it came to their electronic package. Razgatlioglu who has risen to fame thanks to his incredible talent on a motorbike and his outstanding late braking. It was a shock to all when Razgatlioglu was unable to compete braking into corners in the opening part of the season. It took Razgatlioglu 11 races this season before he clinched his first win of 2022, if Yamaha had sorted their electronics sooner Razgatlioglu would have pushed Bautista even harder for the title.

It appears that out of all the manufacturers Ducati kept their eye on the ball the most. This is one reason their rider won the title. However, bringing Bautista back into the Ducati family for 2022 was a perfect move. The bike and rider seemed to be in harmony all year long and helped each other to claim the World Superbike crown.

WorldSBK manufacturers should be worried for 2023

If people thought Bautista and Ducati had a major advantage in a straight line this year, then next year will have other manufacturers considering drastic action. 

The Italian manufacturer have announced the Panigale V4 R for next year, and it is even more powerful than the 2022 bike. 

With the 2023 bike having the potential to boast a mighty 16,500rpm and three more horsepower than the 2022 Ducati with a new total of 237.

With Rea and Razgatlioglu both crying out for more power from Kawasaki and Yamaha it could be time for the Japanese manufacturers to react if they want to keep up in 2023.

2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4S review | Ducati Trackday Silverstone GP Circuit

2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4S review | Ducati Trackday Silverstone GP Circuit