HONDA WORLDSBK STAR ALVARO BAUTISTA SCORES FIRST PODIUM OF 2021 SEASON
It's been a while coming but RICH Energy Ambassador, Alvaro Bautista, finally stood on a World Superbike podium for the first time in 2021 last weekend. Third place in the shortened Superpole race on Sunday morning brought deserved celebrations after a tumultuous season so far.
Saturday's opening race wasn't quite the prequel to the Sunday action as the Spanish weather had its say on proceedings. Starting 16th on the grid, Bautista had work to do and despite struggling for rear grip on his Honda CBR1000RR-R the former MotoGP rider made outstanding progress through the field to challenge for top ten positions. A final push in the closing stages saw Bautista come home in a positive 9th place in tricky conditions.
Sunday's Superpole race at the Circuit de Catalunya really showed just what the combination of Bautista and the Honda are capable of when conditions allow. Starting 16th once again, Bautista made up several places through the opening corners before the race was brough to a premature halt due to an incident on track. The quick restart with grid positions as race order at the Red Flag saw the Spaniard elevated to the third-row courtesy of his outstanding progress to 7th in the opening exchanges. It was a five-lap dash to the flag and Bautista was soon challenging for the podium positions, eventually getting the better of Lowes to secure his and the team's first podium of 2021.
Race 2 later on Sunday looked like more of the same for Bautista as he lined up on the front row of the grid. A good start and strong form were once again thwarted in the initial stages as yet another Red Flag halted proceedings. The restarted race saw Bautista battle with Redding and Locatelli for the final podium position, the Brit just getting the better of the Honda man in the dash to the flag. Bautista was happy with his most successful weekend of the season and keen to carry that momentum to Jerez this weekend.
At Croft, North Yorkshire, the Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing team were contesting the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship. Drivers Jason Plato and Dan Lloyd were keen to improve on a difficult last outing at Knockhill and give the team the turnaround in fortune they deserve. Qualifying 10th and 14th respectively, it left the pair with work to do around the tight Croft circuit. Race one saw Dan Lloyd make great progress to 10th place at the flag as Plato struggled to 17th after hard contact on the opening damaged steering on his Vauxhall Astra.
Races two and three brought more frustration for the team as this time Lloyd was tagged hard and early and then pushed wide by other drivers later in the race limping home in 18th. Plato struggled to reach the lap times he's more than capable of as the legacy of the race one damage continued crossing the line in 12th. Race three saw neither driver finish the race as Lloyd went out at the first corner after contact and Plato spinning out at Sunny In, again after contact pushed him wide. A quick turnaround for the team sees them back in action at Silverstone National this coming weekend.