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WorldSBK star blames Bautista slump on Ducati rev-limit change

The slump in form that has led to Alvaro Bautista to slip 81 points adrift of Jonathan Rea in the World Superbike Championship can be traced to the moment regulators decided to restrict revs on the Ducati Panigale V4 R, according to 11-time race winner Ruben Xaus.

Switching from MotoGP to head up Ducati’s factory challenge in the WorldSBK series with the new Panigale V4 R, Bautista dominated out of the box with a record-breaking run of 11 victories that allowed him to open up a huge lead over Kawasaki’s Rea.

However, since then Bautista’s form has disappeared on the back of a series of incidents with six non-scores from the last nine races dropping him behind with only four rounds remaining.

For Bautista’s countryman Xaus – the 2003 WorldSBK runner-up – the decision to limit the revs of the Panigale V4 R by 250RPM ahead of the Assen WorldSBK round (Round 4) has made the bike ‘less competitive’, even though Bautista reeled off five more wins after the ruling was introduced. 

“It has been like two different championships. There has been this hand-to-hand combat between Bautista and Rea, with one who has been the clear dominator in the first part of the season. Then, as expected, the regulations have been affected. 

“When a bike that works well has its engine torque controlled, and that “music” which allows you to ride the bike to your liking is limited, of course, this affects your way of riding. 

“It takes its toll on you, and it keeps just adding up: the bike is less competitive, the pressure increases and also that hunger of the rivals that want to defeat you. It’s because of these three concepts that we went from seeing Álvaro as the clear winner in so many races, to the current dominion of Rea.”

Xaus - who now works with the MotoGP Avintia Racing team - does, however, credit the way Rea has turned his season around and add to the pressure.

“Rea has learned a lot of things in this first part of the championship thanks to the fact that he had to deal with a rival like he has never had before. He has been leading this championship for four years, and suddenly, someone arrives, and he “slaps him in the face.” 

“What Jonathan has done is learning a lot during these races. He didn’t get nervous, he didn’t go crazy and started making mistakes, and this has allowed him to be there all the times and be the second-best rider on track. And so, when the bikes were balanced, as per the regulations and based on the results that Alvaro and his bike were achieving, Jonny returned to victory.

“Maybe in the early stages of the championship, when there was still no pressure from anyone as anybody was expecting was Alvaro was actually doing, and nor he was expecting it, he told himself “until everything goes right, I’ll keep pushing.”

But if a race goes wrong, then the pressure starts to build on, and it increases when another and another race goes wrong. It keeps accumulating if you start making two or three consecutive mistakes. And on top of that, your main rival never fails, then add all the technical aspects, which perhaps made that the bike is not behaving the same as before.”

Comments

It was a good decision to set a limiter on Ducati because they were getting away with a faster engine for way to long, It should of been done sooner (by the start of round 3 NOT 4). Every 1 knew that the new Ducati was faster even the TV presenters commented on it all the time. The same thing happened to Kawasaki the years before but unlike Bautista, Johnny Rea didn't crack under the pressure he put his head down & stuck with it. Don't get me wrong I don't blame Ducati or Bautista for being good at what they do i'm only saying if the rules are their to keep all the manufacturers competitive together no teams should get away with a cometitive advantage it's not fair on all the other riders / teams = Rules are there for a reason :)

It was a good decision to set a limiter on Ducati because they were getting away with a faster engine for way to long, It should of been done sooner (by the start of round 3 NOT 4). Every 1 knew that the new Ducati was faster even the TV presenters commented on it all the time. The same thing happened to Kawasaki the years before but unlike Bautista, Johnny Rea didn't crack under the pressure he put his head down & stuck with it. Don't get me wrong I don't blame Ducati or Bautista for being good at what they do i'm only saying if the rules are their to keep all the manufacturers competitive together no teams should get away with a competitive advantage it's not fair on all the other riders / teams = Rules are there for a reason :)

Why did my comment go through twice? The 1st time i clicked save i got a message saying (The answer you entered for the CAPTCHA was not correct). So i clicked the box a 2nd time & hit save & it went through. Sorry for the trouble

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