The weekend of the 2019 World Superbike Championship in Laguna Seca was a real nightmare for Alvaro Bautista, who arrived in California with the aim of recovering the leadership in the championship – lost in the previous round of Donington Park – but stumbled into a triple “zero” that has greatly compromised his chances of winning the 2019 World Championship title.
After a crash in the early stages of Race 1 on Saturday, which was then closed to 17th place, the Ducati Spaniard was unable to make up for it in the next two races on Sunday due to another crash, just after the first start of the Superpole Race, resulting from a contact with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Kawasaki) and which caused him to stretch the ligaments of his left shoulder.
The 34-year-old from Toledo was forced to return to the pits and retire after the first lap due to persistent pain in his injured joint.
Recriminations aside, the situation in the standings was heavily complicated for the Spaniard of Ducati, who, not having gained even one point at Laguna Seca, remained at 352 points while his title rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), 2 times first and once second in California, rose to 433 points to bring his advantage to 81 points when there are only 4 rounds left at the end of the season.
The round at Laguna Seca was the last of the SBK before the long summer break, with the hostilities that will resume in Portimao, Portugal, on the weekend of September 6-8. During this long period of inactivity, Bautista will be able to concentrate on his physical recovery, but he will also be able to recover from the mistakes he made, which saw him lose a lead in the standings of up to 61 points:
“I’m really sorry about what happened today. At the first corner of the Superpole Race, Razgatlioglu completely closed the line ahead of me and I couldn’t do anything to prevent his rear wheel from hitting my front wheel. His manoeuvre compromised my two races today as I injured my left shoulder in the crash.
“After being transported to the medical centre and having carried out the necessary checks, I got the ok from the doctors to try to race Race-2 since the X-rays did not show any fractures.
“Unfortunately after only one lap I realized that the pain was so strong that I could not ride because I had no strength in the left arm I could not handle the bike under braking in the left corners, so I went back to the box.
“I am really disappointed because we are always working very well and we can find a way to be fast, but we are still going through a really difficult time. However, I am convinced that if we continue to work like this, we will come back stronger and with even more desire to win. As soon as I get home I’ll do some in-depth checks on my shoulder ligaments, but fortunately the two months off before the next race will certainly allow me to get back in shape at 100%.