SBK: Bau-Bau Disaster. Bautista-Ducati, World Farewell?
If, as the old saying goes, “whoever sleeps doesn’t catch fish”, in races whoever falls four times in a row in eight races loses a world championship after dominating it in the first part of the season and raises questions about the real value of the rider and the bike, at least about their management. We are talking about Alvaro Bautista who also in Race 1 at Laguna Seca went down again probably throwing his iridescent dreams (and those of the Rossa) in the scree, with Rea (+ 49 points in the standings on Bautista) magnificent, again protagonist in his nth triumphal march (eighth victory of the season and 79th victory in the Wsbk!) and able to regain this world title, as if to say, to “do the feat”.
Because it was a feat after the new Bautista-Ducati V4 pair was breaking the championship with a string of golden victories impressive for regularity and superiority since the first race on 24 February at Phillip Island, up, passing through Thailand, Aragon, Assen, that is until the first trap of Imola where the first alarming signal arrived for Bau-Bau and from where the chase of a more than superb Rea, which had never left the bone, started again. The rest is well known, with the ferocious counter-attack of the 32-year-old from Northern Ireland and Kawasaki, capable of reacting to a start to the season that seemed to overwhelm them: it is not by chance that they won the last four world titles in a carriage and are now launched towards the number five title. It is useless, here, to get into the juniperry of technical discussions and also of those related to the Sbk regulations that we have always defined as “fake”.
There is obviously a Bautista “question” in Sbk and there is a Ducati “question” in both Sbk and MotoGP. On his debut in Sbk, Bautista drove well, the only one to make the new Panigale V4 a winner, but – obviously – he couldn’t keep up with the distance, entering a black hole, errors on errors, really inconceivable for a 35-year-old rider of his experience (also in MotoGP and MotoGP) and of his value. The delicate quid that leads a rider to express his full potential and to be a winner in this case has jammed triggering the errors that are leading to disaster for the Spanish rider and the House of Borgo Panigale.
What happened? Why did it happen? Excessive pressure and inability to handle it? Overestimate yourself and your bike and underestimate a pair like Rea-Kawasaki? The usual tension at Ducati between riders and team is caused by the usual pull and spring for the contractual definition, so much so that Bautista has not yet been confirmed by Rossa? Is the cause in one of these problems or in a mix of them? The fact remains of the bitterness in the mouth, the taste of a real defeat, for having deluded and probably thrown to the nettles a championship too hastily and too naively given to acquire. Isn’t this the occasion both for Bautista and above all for Ducati to “take stock” with humility and a lot of self-criticism, putting everything and everyone under scrutiny? Does Sunday’s revenge change anything? The world championship is still long and never to be said. The fact is that now it’s Rea-martello, with his heavy as well as sonante leadership, to have put his mortgage on a World Championship that sees Bautista and Ducati passed from the altars to the dust.