Bautista: One Weekend Wonder Or Title Contender?

WorldSBK Press Office

WorldSBK Press Office

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Giulio Nava are no strangers to each other. The pair worked together from 2015 to 2016 in MotoGP, two demanding but ultimately rewarding years with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini. This season they have reunited inside the WorldSBK paddock – and, well, it’s early days, but the results so far speak for themselves.

“It’s been a perfect weekend, probably the perfect way to begin the season,” begins Nava, just a couple of hours after Bautista’s second double-digit win of the weekend.

The struggles through winter testing have been real – including two crashes on his second test day at Jerez – but as the Italian states, it has clearly paid off: “I think everybody is happy because of the hard work that has been done in the winter, especially in Bologna. They’ve worked a lot collecting all the data, all the feedback from Chaz and Álvaro. Every time they went out for a test they tried to solve the problem or simply follow the requests of Alvaro or Chaz”.

Australia has been kind in the past to Bautista. In the 125cc world championship he scored his first top-four finish there, sealed his first world title, and just last year showed what he was capable of on a factory Ducati.

For Nava, the Spaniard’s performance this weekend did not come by surprise: “Like everybody saw at Phillip Island, in the MotoGP race last year he was fast. We had a two-day test before the race and that helps to set up the bike. I’m sure that Álvaro will keep pushing at 110% every race to get the maximum points and to pay off the guys for all the work they do in the garage for him, up to late at night.”

Chang International Circuit is up next, a track which Bautista has only raced on once (last season, to be exact). What’s next for the Ducati? “You need to go to Thailand, put the bike on the tarmac and see,” says Nava. “We need to go back to Bologna, sit down with the engineers and see what is the most important next step to be done.”