Despite getting one win less than sixth -time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea, Bautista led the 2022 championship standings with 17 points after three rounds.
Of course, the big reason for Ducati’s driver’s lead was DNF Rea in Assen after suffering a come-along with Toprak Razgatlioglu, but while Kawasaki and Yamaha riders have made mistakes, especially Razgatlioglu as the world champion ruled throwing away two potential race wins. in Estoril, Buatista remained flawless.
With that said, limitations still remain on the Panigale V4 R for Bautista, making straight line speed even more important.
“You can see in the straight it’s easy, but you don’t see the problems that I can see during the other lap,” Bautista said. For example, on turns 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 I lost a lot compared to Toprak. [Razgatlioglu] and Jonathan [Rea]but I can’t add much there because my pit is maybe strong at other points.
“In the small sector – the slow sector, we’re not very strong. It doesn’t matter to me if people think I’m winning because the bike is a rocket or something. I know the truth and I know the feeling. I know where we can be. Faster than that. apart.”
Bautista claimed he ‘expected’ a follow -up from Rea in race two, not having the power to stop it
“Of course I was hoping. On turn seven he tried to get past me and I was ready to take it back, in fact, I did.
“But in the chicane I knew he was going to try and I closed [the door] and only left a few meters between the curb inside and me, but just put the bike inside me.
“In the corner it’s very difficult to defend the inside, much more than I am. It’s also very difficult to regain that position because it’s getting closer to the next corner. In the end I couldn’t hold that position and he got it well. With Jonathan he would definitely try on. last corner, once or twice. “
Did Bautista show the form of a WorldSBK champion?
Yes, we’ve never been here before with Bautista because the former MotoGP driver dominated the early stages of 2019.
And although his title challenge is lost in a spectacular way, the Aruba.it Ducati driver looks to be a different driver until now in 2022, avoiding unnecessary mistakes and greater experience being two major improvements.
Consistency and experience can be very important this season as we’ve seen what crashes can do between two of the top three drivers.
With a tight victory margin, being able to ‘attack’ at the right time will be important according to Bautista: “Jonathan is very strong. [Estoril] and Toprak with a very strong Yamaha. At the end; before I came here, it was more of a track to defend from attack.
“That [a] good [track] for Ducati but I think it’s better for a combination of Toprak and Yamaha. Jonathan is always strong and he is always on track to defend. There are only a few that attack like Australia.
“I was surprised that Toprak in race two struggled more than normal and he didn’t try to stay in front.
“From the outside it’s easy to tell, but from the inside maybe he has a problem or something.”
Although Bautista already knows about the fight against Rea, my level of aggression and hard racing has increased drastically since then (2019).
Not known as a diligent driver, Bautista has brought the team to the game this season, and also kept it cool at the right time.