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After it was announced that Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) will be swapping MotoGP™ for WorldSBK in 2019, joining Chaz Davies at the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, former Ducati World Superbike rider Ruben Xaus spoke to worldsbk.com to give his thoughts on his compatriots move.
What are your first thoughts on Bautista's move to WorldSBK?
"I knew that Alvaro had several options. I like to see that the championship is welcoming riders who are very fit, who are quick and who can give a lot. The level goes up. But this step needed to be given with guarantees: if Alvaro had not gone to an official team, he would not have gone to WorldSBK. "
As you already said, Bautista will debut in WorldSBK with the factory Ducati. What was it like for you to make their first steps in WorldSBK?
"In my case, it was different. I arrived without experience, I was 20 years old when I joined the official Ducati team in World Supersport. I was under the pressure of being on the factory team. It was magical for me to work with Ducati: it's something interesting and exciting. If the equipment is from the factory, this is always a plus. I hope that his debut is as good as mine, because he will see this as a positive start.”
Can you see Bautista fighting for the title in 2019?
"If he continues with the same rhythm, he will not be off the podium or out the positions fighting for the podium in any of the races. The title is bigger words: he will do well quickly, but it is difficult to deal with the pressure. You can win one race, but it's important to know when you have to play it safe to get points. When there is no pressure, it is easier: but what he has to remember is that when the Ducati is not going well, he needs to score points anyway.”
Head over to worldsbk.com to read the full interview!