Bautista was dominant in 2022, his first season back aboard the Panigale V4 R after struggling for two seasons with Honda.

But 2023 was as dominant as it gets, even though his main title rival Toprak Razgatlioglu put together some of the best riding we’ve ever seen from a WorldSBK rider.

A 27-time race winner this season, Bautista defended the #1 with sheer class and was as worthy a champion as you can get.

“To be world champion in 2023 sounds really good, especially because it’s very difficult to win a title and it’s even more difficult to defend it,” said an emotional Bautista when speaking to 

“At the beginning of the season, I chose to use the #1 because I felt strong enough to defend the title with it. 

“Defending the #1 on the bike is always really nice and it’s a pleasure for me to be part of the history. My previous championships were won in Australia in 125cc in 2006 and last year in Indonesia. 

“I enjoyed the moment a lot with the team, but to win at Jerez was amazing. I could share all these incredible moments with my friends and family. 

“It was a dream come true to have the chance to celebrate the Championship with everyone. 

“I was really happy to share the championship with my daughters. Every time they see a heart, they say ‘a heart like daddy’ so my first thought was to do the heart sign for them. They celebrated with me, and it was amazing.”

Bautista sets out his title challenge early

Bautista started the 2023 campaign in phenomenal form, winning 15 of the first 16 races, including a drying race in Phillip Island.

With people believing he could be vulnerable, Bautista called it one of the ‘most important’ victories of the year.

“For me, the most important race was the first one in Australia,” began Bautista. “It started to rain before the race. I think many people thought that if it was dry, I would’ve been too fast and won but in wet conditions, they said, ‘I have a chance to beat Alvaro’. 

“For me to win that race was really important and a bigger sign to say that I’m here, it doesn’t matter about the conditions or situation, I’m here to win. 

“The start of the season was unbelievable. We won 15 races from 16, so it was really, really impressive. I can’t believe it. We had the references from last season so, every weekend, we started with a really good base. 

“From there, we started to build up the performance in all races, all circuits, and all conditions. 

“It was so nice to win so many races but, sometimes, when you win a lot of races you can come into a relaxed feeling, and it is not so good.”