Having been his team-mate in 2019 and now rider coach for Aruba.it Ducati, Chaz Davies has shed light on just how good WorldSBK championship leader Alvaro Bautista really is.
Never a race winner in MotoGP, Bautista became exactly that in his first-ever WorldSBK race before going on to win the next ten consecutive races in 2019.
After two difficult seasons with Honda, Bautista has arguably become a more complete rider during his second stint with Ducati.
The favourite to win the 2022 Superbike title which would also be his first, Bautista currently has a commanding 31 point lead over Jonathan Rea after taking seven victories from 18 races.
“He’s exceptional. He does such a good job at understanding where he can push, where he can’t push in the races and also reading the races and the calm approach that he’s bringing this year all season,” Davies told WorldSBK.com.
“He’s taking his time to understand, then riding it to his feeling. His feeling is obviously at such a good level with this bike at the moment.
“It’s just a pleasure to watch at the minute and it’s really exciting to watch in the garage as well, to be part of it. I don’t want to talk about the future and the long term of the championship. I didn’t do that as a rider, and I definitely won’t do that as a coach.
“We’ll stay focused and keep making small steps and keep Alvaro in the same confident position that he currently is. He looks like he’s enjoying the bike and we try to keep it like that.”
“He does not need 20 pieces of advice” – three-time WorldSBK runner-up Davies
The two riders closest to bringing Ducati a WorldSBK title in the last ten years, Davies and Bautista both have experience of fighting against recent world champions Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu.
It’s a situation Bautista finds himself in again this year as both Rea and Razgatlioglu have taken several wins and remain huge threats.
But currently riding at the peak of his performance, Davies believes Bautista is in the perfect position to get over the hump, especially given his greater experience compared to three years ago.
Davies continued: “With Alvaro, he has the same or more experience with me. The first thing is that I really respect his experience in this sport. He’s not a young rider where you need to give 20 pieces of advice to after every session.
“It’s really the opposite of that. I give a couple of bits of information per weekend. Not too much and keep it very simple, as simple as I can. What I say is something that I feel is really important. Then we work on it. I tell Alvaro directly, but I also work on it with his crew.
“Sometimes, it could be a line choice or maybe a way to interpret the corner, but on the other hand it could be something that I see maybe from his setup or his electronics setup or something like that.
“I ask him and I ask his crew and I try to piece the puzzle together. Then I piece the puzzle together with some video footage to show, to explain better what I’m saying.
“It’s giving important information in small chunks and letting him do his job. I think he can do 99.9% and we just need to glue together the last little bit of the puzzle.”