|Team HRC rider Alvaro Bautista was in the battle for the podium throughout the first of this weekend’s WorldSBK races at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Alvaro unfortunately crashed at the last corner of the final lap while defending third place. Despite the final result, the rider put in a very strong performance and clearly demonstrated his podium potential.|
After the final practice, during which the factory rider shaved a few tenths of his best times of yesterday, it was time for the Superpole qualifying phase. As usual, the times tumbled in the final seconds, Bautista recording a 1’41.013 to move up into sixth place by the end of the 15-minute session.
Race 1 got underway in warm and sunny conditions at 2pm local time (25°C air temp., 43°C track temp.).
Bautista lost ground off the line, slipping from sixth to eleventh, but soon recovered and began to work his way back up the field, ninth by lap two. Demonstrating a strong pace, Alvaro was soon able to reach Van der Mark and move into seventh.
Part of a chasing group made up of five riders, the Team HRC rider kept up the pace, determined to fight hard for a potential podium finish and lying fourth on lap fourteen.
Bautista battled with Baz for third place until the very last turn when he unfortunately suffered a crash, which prevented him from scoring what was looking to be his third podium finish in a row.
Alvaro will be keen to exploit his clear potential in tomorrow’s races.
“What a shame about the crash. Luckily, I’m totally fine. I didn’t make a brilliant start and was quite far back at the end of the first lap but I recovered quickly, passing several riders to gradually move up into the third place. In the last lap Loris passed me through the first corner and I thought that, if I followed him for the entire lap, I wouldn’t have another good chance to attack him, so I overtook him straight away and then just tried to defend my position. In the last corner I just tried to close the line a little more than usual, but the asphalt is a bit bumpy there. I lost the front, and the podium as a result, and that’s a pity because we deserved it here, even more than we did in Jerez because we’ve worked really well to adapt the set-up to a tyre I don’t normally choose to use. We adjusted every detail and today we were there once more, fighting at the front. We were also strong in qualifying. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and we’ll do our very best in the two races”.