Bautista: WSBK rivals forget my weight has its disadvantages
Alvaro Bautista says it is easy for his World Superbike Championship rivals to forget that his small physical stature brings with it certain disadvantages, explaining that he loses a chunk of time through corners.
BMW rider Scott Redding caused a stir in the WSBK paddock at July in Donington Park when he suggested that his Ducati replacement Bautista owes his success to his light weight rather than talent, claiming the Spaniard's rivals Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea to be superior riders.
At just 60kg and with a height of 169cm, Bautista is one of the the smallest riders in the WSBK paddock and compares favourably against Rea (70kg), Razgatlioglu (68kg) and particularly Redding, who tips the scales at 78kg.
This gives the Spaniard a visible advantage on the straights, allowing him to exploit the superior top speed advantage of the Ducati Panigale V4 R and pass other bikes with relative ease.
However, Bautista feels his rivals only see a part of the picture and it would be incorrect to impose a minimum weight requirement like those seen in Moto2 and Moto3.
“I think it's a stupid comment,” Bautista said of Redding’s remarks in an interview with Motorsport.com Germany. “For sure with my weight I have some advantages, but I also have some disadvantages.
“With this kind of bike, with this amount of power, I don't use all the power of the bike, I have to release the power in many places.
“Also in MotoGP, it's a stupid thing to think that with the less weight you have advantage because you have some advantage but also some disadvantage. At the end it's a combination.
“I don't think that is needed to put minimum weight here and in MotoGP. In lower categories, okay, I think it's easier or more fair to put a minimum weight.
“But on this kind of bike I don't think it is necessary. So for me it's just like [Redding is trying] to find a reason. 'I don't go fast, I have this reason, I'm more heavy'. But I don't think that that is the main reason for this [lack of speed].”
Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Bautista further explained that it is difficult for an outsider to see how hard he has to try to lose as little time as possible through corners, with his physical limitations adversely impacting his ability to change direction.
However, the 37-year-old insisted that he understands his weaknesses and tries to make up for the deficit on other parts of the track.
“I said many times you can see [my top speed advantage] very easily on the straights but you cannot see how [much] stress I have to do to move the bike, to go into the line, to change direction,” he said.
“Also, exiting from the corners, every time I exit, my front direction [change] is less than when you can put some weight on the front. I have less weight to put on the front or the rear when it's cold.
“I can push less on the tyre and I need many tyres to warm up the tyres, so there are a lot of disadvantages for me, but I try to compensate [for] that and try to use my advantages.
“At the end, the problems I have or the disadvantage with my weight is more difficult to see on TV. But people who understand the bikes and who understand how the bike works, they understand my problems with my low weight.
“It's easy to say he only has advantages because the bike will go faster [on the straights]. But that is not true."
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