The three riders Alvaro Bautista favored last year are still his top choices.

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Even after a tumultuous WorldSBK season-opener where the ‘Titanic trio’ didn’t secure a victory, Alvaro Bautista maintains his belief that he, Jonathan Rea, and Toprak Razgatlioglu will continue to set the pace.

Numerous names left an impression at Phillip Island, from Nicolo Bulega, who claimed victory in Race 1 as a WorldSBK rookie, to Andrea Iannone, Andrea Locatelli, and championship leader Alex Lowes.

Jonathan Rea remained without points throughout the weekend, Toprak Razgatlioglu was forced to retire from Race 2 due to a mechanical issue, and Alvaro Bautista’s title defense got off to a shaky start with a crash in Race 1.

However, the world champion remains unfazed despite finishing second in Race 2.

Reflecting on the opening round, Bautista shared with Speedweek: “Last year, I had six more valuable days on the bike before the first race weekend compared to this year. It allowed me to build confidence and focus on bike setup. This year, during the Australian test, I was able to concentrate on understanding the bike for the first time.”


“Jerez was challenging due to my physical condition. Portimao showed some improvement, but I couldn’t fully concentrate on the bike. Starting from Tuesday in Australia, I felt I could ride decently.”

“The race weekend felt like a winter test to me – my confidence grew with each race. I believe I will hit my peak form again during the testing in Catalonia and the subsequent race weekend.”

Despite a challenging weekend, Bautista found redemption with a top-five finish in the Superpole Race. In Race 2, he led until Lowes made a decisive move three corners from the finish.

Despite missing out on victory at Phillip Island, a track where he has been dominant with Ducati, Bautista anticipates that he and the top three contenders from recent seasons will find their rhythm, along with the impressive newcomer Bulega.

“If I were to make a prediction, I’d back the same trio as last year (Bautista, Razgatlioglu, Rea),” Bautista added.

“Jonathan Rea might encounter challenges with the Yamaha in certain races. And Bulega will consistently be a top-five contender; he’s quick.

“Alex Lowes has always shown speed at Phillip Island. However, that won’t necessarily be the case every weekend.”

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