Alvaro Bautista explains winter injury that leaves him struggling in WorldSBK test

Alvaro Bautista has given more details about the neck injury that has laid him low throughout the winter period and prevented him from setting strong lap times during the first 2024 WorldSBK pre-season test at Jerez.

Though it was known the Spaniard had been suffering with an ailment, it was originally believed to be a consequence of the heat exhaustion he suffered when he made his MotoGP wild-card outing at Sepang in November 2023.

However, Bautista has now revealed it is in fact a neck injury sustained at Jerez in the days after wrapping up his second WorldSBK title that has affected him throughout the winter and into the first tests of 2024.

“I felt better [on Thursday], not perfect [though],” he commented. “I have some pain still when I’m riding, especially in left corners, and I’m not so comfortable but it wasn’t worse than Wednesday. It has been a bit better so that means I’m improving my physical condition. 

“We decided to make some different setups on the bike we chose on Day 1 to see if we find some positive or negative things, like we do in a normal pre-season to make the best base possible for the beginning of the season. 

“We tried some changes to the setup, and we decided what could be better or worse. It was positive because I could do a lot of laps, even with some pain, but the thing is I didn’t have more pain.”

Bautista, who scored a record-breaking 27 wins en route to the 2023 WorldSBK title, went on to reveal that he hasn’t been able to train properly since the crash in November.

“I couldn’t train well in November or December, I just tried to recover with the physiotherapist. With a nerve, it’s always very slow and you can’t do too much. 

“You have to wait and not force it. I started my training at the beginning of the year, just a few weeks ago. At the moment, the plan was to check my physical condition on the bike. 

“Fortunately, I can ride. Not perfectly, but I can. I hope to take another step at Portimao. After the Portimao test, we will see. There’s no real plan. We have to go day by day.”


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