MotoGP exile Bautista showing his unfulfilled potential in Superbikes

Alvaro Bautista demonstrated the potential he didn't manage to fulfil during his MotoGP career on his debut World Superbike weekend, reckons Ducati general manager Gigi Dall'Igna

MotoGP exile Bautista showing his unfulfilled potential in Superbikes

Bautista was recruited to join Ducati's factory World Superbike team for the 2019 campaign when he ran out of options to remain in MotoGP, having been part of the satellite Angel Nieto team in 2017 and 2018.

In 158 premier class starts, the Spaniard managed only three podium finishes and one pole, but was a regular race winner in the 250cc division and a champion in 125cc.

After topping the times in pre-season testing at Phillip Island aboard Ducati's brand-new V4 R bike, Bautista went on to dominate his first WSBK race weekend, taking a clean sweep of three wins to take an early points lead ahead of Kawasaki's Jonathan Rea.

He became the first WSBK rider since Max Biaggi in 2007 to win on his series debut.

"I've known Alvaro for a long time and I've always thought him to be a great talent," said Dall'Igna, who oversees both Ducati's MotoGP and WSBK projects in his role.

"I worked with him for some years in 125cc and 250cc [at Aprilia] and I have always wondered why in MotoGP he has never managed to realise the potential he has, because he is one of the biggest talents I have seen."

Bautista won the opening race in Australia by almost 15 seconds ahead of four-time WSBK champion Rea, was similarly dominant in the second full-length race and narrowly overcame Rea to win the first-ever 'Superpole Race', a 10-lap sprint awarding reduced points.

Dall'Igna however remains cautious about the prospects of the V4 R enjoying success at other circuits, many of which have very different characteristics to Phillip Island.

"Honestly speaking, no," he said when asked if events at Phillip Island had made him reassess Ducati's 2019 targets. "I think we are not ready to be on the top for all the races.

"We have seen our strong points, which will be important, but we also have some weaknesses that could make us suffer a bit at some tracks.

"The stability of the bike is an issue. The turning of the bike is another weak point. I think we have to play a little bit more with the set-up and find out some answers to these questions before we can be really competitive."

He added: "We must keep our feet on the ground and see what happens.

"It's difficult to say what are the real expectations, because the project is completely new, we are at the start and for us each race is a new challenge.

"I spoke with Alvaro, he was happy. I told him that we must pretend nothing happened and work as if we lost the race."

shares
comments
Green light for MotoGP's new 'Long Lap' penalty season from Qatar
Previous article

Green light for MotoGP's new 'Long Lap' penalty season from Qatar

Next article

Honda MotoGP boss hits back at KTM over Pedrosa loyalty comments

Honda MotoGP boss hits back at KTM over Pedrosa loyalty comments
The unique advantage Ducati must now use to win the 2022 MotoGP title Plus

The unique advantage Ducati must now use to win the 2022 MotoGP title

Ducati has littered the grid with eight strong motorcycles that has ensured it has had at least one rider stand on the podium at every grand prix in 2022. The drama of the Aragon Grand Prix has thrust Francesco Bagnaia well and truly into title contention with five races to go, and Ducati must now consider utilising a unique strength it has so far been reticent to embrace

MotoGP
Sep 19, 2022
How KTM failed one of its brightest MotoGP prospects Plus

How KTM failed one of its brightest MotoGP prospects

Reigning Moto2 champion Remy Gardner’s career has been derailed by KTM’s decision not to retain him at Tech3 for 2023. Amid difficult circumstances, Gardner hasn’t shamed himself. But KTM’s apparent reasoning for dropping him raises questions about its handling of its young riders and the unrealistic expectations placed on them

MotoGP
Sep 6, 2022
Why it won’t just be Marquez’s speed that saves Honda in MotoGP Plus

Why it won’t just be Marquez’s speed that saves Honda in MotoGP

OPINION: Honda is in the midst of a second winless season in the space of three years. The absence of the injured Marc Marquez has been a major contributing factor, but HRC’s inability to alter its own approach has seen it slide down the order. Marquez returned to the MotoGP paddock in Austria and provided a rallying cry Honda needed to hear.

MotoGP
Aug 22, 2022
The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him Plus

The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him

Prior to the summer break, the 2022 MotoGP title looked like it was Fabio Quartararo’s to lose. But a crash at Assen and the consequential penalty he had to serve last weekend at Silverstone stopped him from capitalising on a main rival’s injury woes, while a resurgence from another, plus the rise of a former team-mate, look set to conspire against the Yamaha rider

MotoGP
Aug 8, 2022
Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time Plus

Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time

On the eve of the British Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso announced that he will be retiring from MotoGP after September’s San Marino GP. The timing of his departure raised eyebrows, but his reasoning remains sensible and what has happened this year should not diminish a hard-built legacy

MotoGP
Aug 6, 2022
Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge Plus

Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge

Alex Rins’ MotoGP future was plunged into sudden doubt when Suzuki elected to quit the series at the end of 2022. Securing a deal with Honda to join LCR, he will now tread a path that many have fallen off from. But it was a move he felt his status deserved, and it’s a challenge – he tells Autosport - he faces with his eyes wide open…

MotoGP
Jul 27, 2022
How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature Plus

How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature

The hiring of technicians from Formula 1 has clearly contributed to a recent change in the MotoGP landscape, with the role of engineers gaining greater significance relative to the riders. Here's how this shift has come about

MotoGP
Jul 19, 2022
The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader Plus

The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader

Coinciding with the arrival of Massimo Rivola as head of its MotoGP division, Aprilia has undergone an internal revolution that has spurred it from occupying last place in the team standings to leading the table in the space of just two years. Those entrenched in the project reveal how the ex-Ferrari F1 chief has achieved the dramatic turnaround

MotoGP
Jul 15, 2022