Despite this, Alvaro Bautista and Valentino Rossi share one thing in common: a period of deep crisis that, although it has different assumptions and roots, has negatively affected the performance of the Spanish and Italian in their respective championships. While Alvaro has turned from a dominator of Superbike to an unfortunate chaser of the cannibal Jonathan Rea, Valentino is going through a period of “fasting” that lasts since the Grand Prix of Assen 2017, difficulties that seem to have worsened in early 2019.
In an interview with the Motor Radioestadio radio program, broadcast on the Onda Cero channel, Bautista spoke of the “no moment” of Pesaro, highlighting the many factors that can affect the performance of the 9-time world champion riding the official Yamaha: “From the outside we see one thing, but we don’t know how he feels, the problems he has with the bike and the team,” explained the Spaniard, showing a certain solidarity with his colleague… It is a very personal matter, everyone knows what their problems are and what is missing to be competitive.
In recent weeks there has been much talk about the future of Valentino, who at the age of 40 is facing one of the most critical moments of his triumphant career in the MotoGP. There are those who look forward to retirement, those who focus on the transition to four wheels (Rally? DTM?) and those who, like Alvaro, put on the plate other possible solutions to give new life to the talent of Rossi. As, for example, the passage in Superbike: “I invite him to come in Superbike with us, a more relaxed environment” said the talaveran “It would be a very difficult opponent to beat but the more riders there are, the better… I’d be happy!”.
Bautista is just the latest in a long list that includes Alex Barros, Sylvain Guintoli, Carlos Checa and Troy Bayliss among others (who after his interlude in MotoGP with Ducati returned to WSBK for another two titles). And, of course, Rossi’s eternal rival, Max Biaggi, who lived a second youth in Superbike, winning the last of the two World Championships with Aprilia at the age of 41.
A “handle” like Valentino would be, on a competitive bike, a rather uncomfortable opponent for the Top Riders of the production derivatives, but the Spaniard doesn’t seem at all afraid. On the contrary: “It would be fun,” Bautista explained, “when you run against strong riders who can win, your victories are more valuable.
Alvaro then dwelt on his situation, on the crisis that saw him squander all his advantage over Rea’s Kawasaki due to a disastrous series of crashes: “We must continue to be optimistic and look ahead. There are still a lot of races and points at stake. “Ducati – he added talking about a hypothetical renewal of the contract with the Borgo Panigale team – proposed that I continue next season and we are talking about the details of the contract, but we haven’t signed anything yet. The intention was to continue because I’m happy with me and I’m happy with them, but we still don’t agree on the conditions and we’re discussing this.
Then there is the offer from Honda, which taking advantage of the hesitation of the men in the red is courting Bautista with a proposal apparently very attractive to the Spaniard.
“Honda wants to do what Ducati has done this year, try to field a full power bike and fight for the world championship,” concluded Alvaro, who currently has an 81 point gap in the overall standings from his rival Rea. I didn’t think about the possibility that Honda would want to enter the World Superbike championship with force. You never have to close any doors…”.