Alvaro Bautista compared MotoGP and WorldSBK

Alvaro Bautista compared MotoGP and WorldSBK 1

Alvaro Bautista, a former MotoGP driver who planned to make a trip to the World Superbike and then return to the Grand Prix paddock, said that he had stopped understanding modern trends in Big Prizes and that the current championship “does not impress him.”

Bautista left MotoGP at the end of 2018 because of Ducati’s promise to return him to the Grand Prix if he wins the WSBK championship. Alvaro joined the factory team in Aruba. it Racing in 2019 and performed on the newest Superbike Panigale V4R, an exact copy of the prototype Desmosedici GP16. Alvaro was so charged with the success that he won the first 10 races of the season in a row, but then he realized that Ducati Corse would not keep his promise – and Bautista had a psychological breakdown: he began to fall regularly, losing points, and finished the season only 2nd. And after that, he immediately left the Ducati camp, moving to the Honda factory project.

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Alvaro Bautista in the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP factory team (2011)

Alvaro has not thought about returning to MotoGP since then but admitted that he is following the Grand Prix very closely, although now this championship has ceased to attract him, as well as many spectators who no longer return to the stands.

First of all, Bau argued that without such stars as Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, and Marc Marquez, and their constant struggle, both on the track and behind the scenes, the attractiveness of the series as a whole has decreased. And new technologies allow newcomers without experience and “brakes in the head” to press veterans, selecting their positions and jobs.

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Duel of Alvaro Bautista and Valentino Rossi

Alvaro was among the MotoGP drivers who always dreamed of getting into a direct fight with Lorenzo and Rossi during their most brutal confrontation, from 2010 to 2015. Bau had several chances for this, but he was able to realize only one. And in four cases, his attacks ended in disaster: Alvaro took down Valentino twice, Lorenzo once, and once fell himself during a pick with Jorge. After the torpedoing of Rossi in Mugello in 2013, Alvaro Bautista received many threats from Italian Tiffosi, he was even provided with protection when returning to Italy for the San Marino Grand Prix that season. But everything worked out. Nevertheless, after that, the unflattering nickname “torpedo man” was fixed for Alvaro.

The desire to fight one-on-one with the Great and Terrible – was the only reason why Bautista decided on reckless attacks. And although Alvaro was on the same starting grid with Valentino Rossi for 8 years, from 2010 to 2018, the Spaniard Rossi remained an Icon of Motorsport, and he considers the end of Valentino’s career the main loss for MotoGP in recent decades.

I think Rossi’s retirement was the most important factor affecting MotoGP’s image,” Bautista says, “But there was also a generational change too quickly: there were almost no experienced veterans left in the paddock. The shortage of spectators in the stands is not only the absence of fans of Rossi but of all the other great pilots who were followed by millions. My fans aren’t there anymore either. And young riders simply do not have time to get their own “army” – they are too young, and their careers are fleeting.”

The second reason, according to Bau, is the total unpredictability of the outcome of races in MotoGP. This creates intrigue for viewers but levels the level of riders. When the same driver regularly wins races against many, it makes him great – the only one. But when the victory goes to different drivers regularly, it blurs the Grand Prix grandeur, making everyone “one of many”.

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“Although I follow MotoGP, I understand the modern championship less and less,” Alvaro continues. – One weekend a rider can fight for victory, dominate, and the next be outside the TOP 10. For me, this chaos remains a mystery. In my opinion, the influence of modern technology has excluded the manifestation of the personal talent of each individual rider. Young people come from Moto2 and immediately start fighting for the podium. It was impossible when I was performing myself! When we were fighting, to finish in the TOP 5 was akin to winning – it was such a serious competition. Now, when motorcycles are more or less the same, everyone can catch the moment and drive to the podium. There are 1-2 overtakes per race, sometimes only one is decisive. I’m not impressed.”

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Bautista on the podium with Marquez and Rossi, French Grand Prix 2014

“In our time there was the Great Four, each of whom we, the young riders, wanted to do during the race, but it was extremely difficult to achieve this – Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo… We went out of our way to get closer to them, to fight with them at least a little. And if he emerged victorious from such a duel, it was a holiday. The guys on the factory prototypes were the elite, becoming one of them is a big dream for each of us. It is much easier to cope with current motorcycles, the greatness of the rider is less noticeable, and there is also less activity during the race. That’s what I’ve been thinking about for the last three years.”

Read also: MotoGP: The media launched a campaign against Honda – this time, because of Pol Espargaro

Dorna Sports has put a lot of effort into separating MotoGP and World Superbike, making them different in everything – but only externally, in terms of PR and pictures. In fact, there is much more in common between WSBK and MotoGP today than there was 10 years ago:

“In Spain, WSBK has always been treated like a MotoGP support race. I thought so too until I moved to this championship. And today it is almost impossible to compare MotoGP and World Superbike. Ideologically, the championships have become completely different, and I like the atmosphere in the Superbike much more. But the technical level of the series is very close – speed, power, electronics technology, and chassis. Nevertheless, some MotoGP drivers come to WSBK, but they can’t show a decent result. The competition in the Superbike is now the same as in MotoGP a decade ago – there are 4-5 pilots who are fighting for the podium, and there are 4-5 more pilots who want to be at this level,” concluded Bautista.