Alvaro Bautista Aragon Race 1

The Spanish rider has confirmed high expectations for the team following a successful preseason – with two wins and three podiums from the opening round

The return of Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) to the Italian manufacturer’s factory team has instantly translated into Bautista becoming a genuine championship contender.

Riding a competitive Panigale V4 R which Bautista feels comfortable with, the Spanish rider emerged from the Pirelli Aragon Round as the Championship leader after two victories at MotorLand Aragon.

After his epic duel with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in Race 1 on Saturday, which Rea won by just 0.090s, Bautista dominated the Tissot Superpole Race that opened day 2 with a margin of more than five seconds over the six-time World Champion.

In Race 2, Bautista again showed his championship potential as he won by more than four seconds over Rea. The combined results from the weekend leaves Bautista with a slender three-point advantage over Rea in the Championship standings.

Bautista, who had not had a victory since winning in San Juan in 2019, found it hard to hide his excitement over the weekends results – leaving the Aragon Round with two wins and three podiums.

“It’s the best way to start the Championship! I enjoyed this weekend a lot with all the fans. I’m so happy to celebrate this start to the season with them. I don’t have words to describe my feeling on the bike. I’m in love with this bike and I enjoyed riding it.”

Assessing his first two victories since rejoining Ducati, Bautista said.

“In the morning, I felt quite good with the bike in Warm Up, so I said, ‘let’s try to do my best in the Superpole Race this time.”

“I started well, I got the lead at the beginning and just kept my pace. I was quite fast but also quite consistent during the whole race.”

“In the afternoon, it was a different story because the track condition was very different from all the times, we rode at this track in test days and also this weekend, because it was much warmer.”

“For me, it was important to understand the limit of the track was and a few laps behind Jonathan, I understood how much I could push.”

“I took the lead and tried to push until the limit of the track. I kept consistent and I could win again. I’m so happy to win again, not just for the result but also for my feeling with the bike.”

The weekend duels of Bautista and Rea has reignited their rivalry which came to the fore following the Spanish rider’s switch to WorldSBK from MotoGP in 2019 with Ducati.

They currently sit first and second in Championship with reigning Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) in third, 18 points behind the Spanish rider.

It is the first time that Bautista has lead the Championship since Misano 2019, 1022 days ago.