WorldSBK

Bautista jibes Redding: “He did well...but he has more experience"

Scott Redding may have scored a podium on his WorldSBK debut... but Alvaro Bautista says it isn't like winning in your first Superbike outing

Alvaro Bautista has aimed subtle dig at his Ducati WorldSBK successor Scott Redding, insisting his podium-winning debut at Phillip Island was ‘excellent’ but pointing out the Briton began with more experience than he did when he swept the board twelve months ago.

Redding - the 2019 British Superbike Champion - picked up a brace of third place results on his first race outing aboard the WorldSBK-spec Ducati Panigale V4 R, earning him rave reviews from the team for his professionalism in context of high expectations.

Those lofty hopes were motivated by Bautista’s dominant showing on his debut with the team a year earlier when he swept to a trio of comfortable victories, the first in a run of 11 consecutive wins.

At the time rivals complained the new Ducati had too much of an advantage – particularly in a straight line –  over its rivals, leading the FIM introducing a rev reduction on the bike from round four.

However, Bautista maintains his results weren’t down to the bike alone, insisting he was the difference in the package that led to his dominance that day.

“You have to have a good bike and a good team, but you also have to be in the lead on the circuit and win,” he says. “It’s difficult. Not everyone can do it and I hope that now we will see that the motorcycles and the teams are important, but that the rider must also do his part.”

With this in mind, when asked whether he thought Redding’s performance was impressive, while Bautista insisted it was, he points it doesn’t compare to him winning in his very first Superbike race. 

“The motorcycle and the team are very important, but the rider also. Scott had excellent races. He obtained three podiums, which, like starting in a championship in which he had never raced, is good results. 

“[But] It is true that he already has experience with this bike and last year he did British Superbike with Ducati. He will surely have arrived with much more experience than I did last year.”

Did Ducati have unfair advantage in 2019?

Many point to correlations in Bautista’s rather alarming slide in form during the second-half of the year with the aforementioned rev reduction introduced as a direct result of his early results.

However, seven of his 16 wins that season still came under the new regulations, including in five of the seven races that immediately followed the change.

Given the scale of his wins out of the box in Australia, Thailand and Aragon, it’s hard to see how the rev reductions would have stopped him on those days anyway – at worst he was getting maximum at these circuits from a package that was always in contention for wins.

Unfortunately, for Bautista his comments about the rider making the difference shines his own light on why the 2019 season got away from him – on those days he crashed, the rider definitely made all the difference.

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