Alvaro Bautista says Honda deserved the podium
After qualifying 16th on Saturday morning, Bautista finished ninth in a wet first race of the weekend that afternoon before his fortunes were dramatically reversed on Sunday.
In a Superpole race that was shortened to five laps after a red flag, Bautista jumped up to finish third behind title protagonists Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu and win Honda’s first stand of the season.
Until then, Bautista had scored just one top five all season in July at Assen amid a difficult second season aboard the underdeveloped Honda CBR1000RR-R, the bike’s lack of performance. ‘leading to reject Honda in favor of a return to Ducati. in 2022.
After the Assen round, Bautista had predicted that Honda would not finish on the podium all season, but at Barcelona the Spaniard spoke of the progress the marque has made in recent weekends.
“[On Sunday] in the morning without changing anything on the bike, it was like another bike [compared to Saturday]”Bautista recalls.” The grip was there, I could use it, I could go fast, I could push… I enjoyed riding the bike. We had our normal problems, but no more than normal.
“I knew the Superpole race would be tough, it was only a few laps and I started far on the grid, but I got off to a good start, I gained a few positions, I was seventh before the flag red I also got off to a good start. [on the restart] and I kept my concentration, it allowed me to finish third.
“The last three or four races we’ve had a very good base setup which allows us to start every weekend with the same feedback as the weekend before. We have our [main] the job is done and we adjust for the weekend.
“I hope to make some small improvements for the next race and try to close the gap, because now we have to be closer. I want to be closer to the best, everyone is working really hard, but this result is for HRC , and the whole team. I think we deserve something like that. “
Bautista finished a strong weekend with a fourth place in the weekend’s second long distance race, while losing the chance to replicate his Superpole result after encountering late brake issues.
This allowed the Spaniard to climb into the top 10 in the rider standings with four rounds to go and move further away from teammate Leon Haslam, who could only achieve a better seventh place in Barcelona.
“The track conditions were more difficult [in Race 2] and I didn’t feel as good as in the morning, but not as bad as on Friday, “said Bautista.” I didn’t have the same performance for braking and coming out of the corner.
“In any case, I tried to stay in the leading group. But I had trouble with the brakes and had to adjust the lever every two turns because the lever was getting closer to my hand.
“Once I braked I didn’t have a lot of leverage [travel], so I missed the corner, I went out [of the track], I lost a second and lost the chance to fight for the podium because there were four laps to go, but I got very close. “
Bautista’s results also brought Honda closer to BMW in the battle for fourth place in the constructors’ standings, even though the German marque remains 46 points ahead.