Team HRC has completed the first of the races making up the closing round of the Superbike World Championship at the Estoril circuit. The Spaniard suffered a fall just three laps from the end while lying fifth after a strong comeback.
The Team HRC rider was out for the final Superpole of the season in dry conditions this morning. The qualifying session was red-flagged early on when another rider suffered a fall. Returning to the track with 19 minutes still on the clock, Bautista closed just over a tenth from his team-mate, his fastest time of 1’37.042 placing him eight, which translated into a spot on the third row of the starting grid.
Come 2pm local time, it was time for race 1. Bautista, ninth off the line, dropped back to twelfth through the first turns but then started to make up the lost ground, moving into ninth place on lap six and seventh by lap eight. Lying sixth, the British rider found himself part of a group comprising Lowes and his Spanish team-mate Bautista, the trio jostling for positions throughout the central stage of the race. As the laps went on, Alvaro looked set for a top-five finish but unfortunately a crash at turn 6 on lap 18 prevented him from crossing the line today.
“Today I’m a little upset about the fall, really sorry actually, because at that moment I was feeling very good on the bike after making a strong comeback. We improved the race set-up of the bike a little compared to all the previous rounds, especially in terms of the electronics. The only thing is that we tend to identify the set-up a little late. Even today, I had to find all the references again during the race itself because the bike felt different from the practices, though it was better, in that I could push harder. I felt good, I could ride hard, especially when I had a free track ahead after moving up the field. I could lap with pace very close to that of the leaders. It was a shame about the crash at turn six. But we’ll try to take the positives, and make another step forward with the electronics, bearing in mind that tomorrow we have two more opportunities to run good races.”