Racing in Qatar, racing at night is special, says Bautista
Spaniard Alvaro Bautista recalls fond memories of Qatar even as he seeks to finish off his first Superbike season on a high.
Qatar holds a special place in former MotoGP and now Superbike rider Alvaro Bautista’s heart. His first visit to the Losail Circuit in 2004 saw him make it to the podium with a third-place finish in the 125cc category of the Qatar MotoGP programme. In the next year he went on to win the 125cc world title, spurred on by a win in Qatar, the second stop of the series.
Thereafter he has been a regular to Qatar as part of the MotoGP entourage. He moved up to 250cc in 2007 and then to the MotoGP category in 2010. His last visit was in March 2018 during his final season in MotoGP.
“I like coming back to Qatar and the track at the Losail Circuit,” said Bautista. “In my first race here I finished on the podium and I’ve finished well in a few races in the past here. So, I have good memories. I’m looking forward to this weekend,” he said.
The 34-year-old Spaniard, who switched to Superbike only this season, has tackled the night races in Losail as a MotoGP rider, but it will be the first in the new category. He did not think it would be very different.
“I’ve been riding here for so long. I know what it feels like. But for somebody new, it may be a strange feeling. But you adapt and it’s easy – almost like riding during the day,” said the Spanish rider.
Bautista recalled the first time he raced at night on the Losail Circuit.
“At the first corner I saw shadows and I thought it was another rider. So, I kept turning back to see who was following me. It was fine once I got used to it,” he said.
Bautista did point to a drawback in night racing – the humidity factor.
“I was here in March last year and once the race started the humidity increased. I couldn’t get a good grip on the track. That could be a problem,” he said.
At the same time Bautista highlighted a big advantage of racing under floodlights. To him, the pros of night racing far outweigh the cons.
“Since it’s a bit dark around you, you focus only on the track. You are less distracted during night racing,” he said.
He added that he enjoyed the races in Doha, especially the night races.
“It’s very special. Racing at night and racing in Doha,” he said.