SBK: Bautista-Ducati, What Now?
The night brings advice, as an old saying goes. Who knows if the summer break of the SBK, a stop of two months, makes Alvaro Bautista and Ducati find again the lost compass, getting back in the race in a world championship dominated in the first part of the championship, then incredibly thrown to the wind for the last five consecutive crashes. One who knew about racing, Mike Hailwood, said that for a driver the worst misfortune was to fall without knowing why. And the head of the racing department at Cascina Costa Arturo Magni’s MV was raising the bar: “The fall is on us. But if you don’t find out the real causes immediately, the pilot continues to fall even if he goes slower”. And Count Agusta cut it short: “If the falls are inexplicably repeated, either the rider doesn’t go or the bike doesn’t go. The test must be done in the field by entrusting the same bike to another rider.
In short, even in motorcycling the rule of the “pudding test” applies. In the case of Bautista-Ducati there is no shortage of doubts and contradictions. According to the results of the other drivers riding the brand new V4 Panigale, without Bautista the Rossa would certainly not have won the first races. So either Alvaro had more on his handle (or – as they say now – he had a better feeling…) than the other riders on the new Borgo Panigale bikes or his bike had an extra gear. Tertium non datur. So much so that the opponents had gone (almost) all in the ball saying that the clear and disarming superiority of the new Ducati left the opportunity to fight for second place only. Rea himself, the only one who had never given up even in the most overwhelming phase of the Bau Bau-Rossa tsunami, appeared to have been beaten.
It is not true that the circuits of the first phase of the championship – that of the repeated triumphs of the Spaniard – were all of one type (i.e. in favour of the Bautista-Ducati duo) and then in the second phase – that of the debacle and the recovery with overtaking of Rea – were all circuits with opposite characteristics. Bautista drove to the limit (the only exception in the “wet”) when he dominated the first races and drove to the limit afterwards. The difference is in the results: from the altars to the dust. The “fault” of Rea and her pressure? No. The Northern Irish rider was always 100%: very fast (see lap times) when Bautista dominated as well as when he came back to win. If anything, we must say that the ace of Verdona was “also” regular, able to not give up the bone and never give up, not throwing away anything. “Cannibal” or not, we are talking about a talent, great handle, great determination, great tactics, very strong always and everywhere, four times world champion and so much so if you say it is not easy to bring home results of this level in a row to the other.
So what? So, coming back to the beginning of this speech, it leaves us at least perplexed to learn that Ducati cannot explain the reason for the repeated crashes of their Bau Bau. This means that if the “technical” answer didn’t come from the telemetry, the less the answer came from the main protagonist of this defeat, the rider. Overwhelmed by the psychological pressure of having the “obligation” of continuous victory or by an exaggerated conviction that the title is already in his pocket? Disappointed and disturbed by the contract that still does not exist? Here, as you turn it, there’s always a piece missing: neither the rider nor Ducati can get out of it by appealing to the cynical and cheerful fate. Does this lead to the conclusion that Ducati and Bautista are sailing in the fog? The word, as always, at the track. There is still room for optimism which, in this case, is like betting on the “good star”. Why? Nothing is impossible, even to make up for a disastrous situation at the moment. But how can we reasonably think that Bautista (81 points gap on Rea!) wins all the rounds of the four remaining races (248 points overall) and at the same time that Rea is in a series of “zeroes”, a driver who has made 22 podiums in the last 25 races? In Borgo Panigale, if they don’t want to use the broom, they can always take a walk and climb the nearby hill of the Guardia, relying on the Madonna di San Luca.