Team HRC was let down by bad luck at Portimao this weekend, with Alvaro Bautista demonstrating podium-worthy pace in qualifying and each of the three races, both in wet and dry conditions.
Once again today, Alvaro missed out on a likely podium finish during the course of the day’s action. The spaniard did well to finish fifth in a wet Superpole race but was then struck by bad luck when he was hit by another rider and prevented from fighting for third in the afternoon’s second race.
The short Tissot Superpole race got underway at 11am local time.
Having rained throughout the morning, the track was wet as riders took to the grid, with light rain starting to fall again just minutes before the start. From his place on the grid, Alvaro placed tenth. He passed Razgatlioglu mid-race to move into sixth, before gaining one more position in the latter stages and crossing the line a strong fifth.
Later in the day, the last of the weekend’s races ran in dry conditions but started a little later than scheduled and was reduced to a distance of 19 laps after a technical issue with the circuit starting lights. Bautista moved up a position on the starting grid, to fifth, thanks to his result in the Superpole race.
The HRC’s rider was in ninth place through the first turns, before Bautista made a series of passes in quick succession to move into sixth place. Fourth by the mid-race point, Bautista was once again battling with Baz for third but unfortunately, a move from the French rider on lap eighteen resulted in a crash for Bautista, the rider unable to reach the line.
A disappointing end to the day for Alvaro, who clearly had the potential to be on the podium in all three of the weekend’s races.
At the end of this eleventh championship round, Bautista lies ninth in the standings with 174 points.
The next, penultimate round of the WorldSBK championship will take place at the San Juan Villicum circuit in Argentina on 15-17 October.
“In light of yesterday, it was difficult to remain focused today. Even if we are professionals, it is not easy. I did my best to concentrate on my bike and on the track action. In Race 1, I made a good start but in the opening laps I couldn’t fully exploit the tyres, something we have been struggling with for a while. So a gap opened between me and the riders ahead and I was unable to catch them. It was a physically demanding race as, with a lot of grip, the bike was a bit aggressive and I had to fight to control it. Anyway, our pace was very similar to that of the leaders and another top five finish was really good after Catalunya, on a quite different track. I was expecting to struggle even more in Race 2 but with the warmer temperatures, the bike actually became easier and smoother to ride right from the start. Particularly from mid-race onwards, I was able to lap fast and consistently. I started to catch the riders ahead and then pass them. I enjoyed passing the other riders on the brakes and battling with them. In the end, we scored another podium and I’m happy because I felt so much better on the bike even if the conditions were worse than they had been this morning. We are all working so hard on the bike, never giving up, and so this progress and results are a reward for us all.”“.