Alvaro Bautista made a breakthrough with his Aspar Ducati on the final day of testing at Phillip Island, but for the Spanish rider it came too late as he ran out of time to take maximum advantage.
Bautista finished a 'disastrous' long run before switching to his second Desmosedici to try a new set-up in the closing stages of the afternoon session and immediately felt a marked improvement with the GP16, although he was left wanting more as the clock ticked down.
“We tried a different set-up with the other bike after the long run and I think in three laps I felt more comfortable than all of these three days, so I was disappointed because we had no more time to follow this way but anyway we have the data,” he said.
“Today was not good for me with the wind direction and I think [not good] for anybody, and I don't feel really good. Today we worked to improve my feeling on the bike to try to get the same feeling I had in Sepang. We wanted to compare the changes from yesterday and the day before but the small change we did wasn't in the right way.
“I did a long run but the front tyre was destroyed after 15 laps, so I had to stop and repeat in the afternoon. I used a new tyre from Michelin that definitely had more life but the feeling was not the same,” he added.
“Also with the rear after 15 laps, the tyre was moving quite a lot and I decided to put in a softer compound in the afternoon, but there was more moving and the dropping of the tyre was worse, so I can say that the long run was a disaster.”
Bautista felt stronger on the Ducati at Valencia, Jerez and Sepang than he did at Phillip Island, but with Qatar hosting the opening world championship round, he is optimistic that he will have a solid set-up for the season opener at a track where the Ducati has been traditionally strong.
“Valencia was the first time I rode the Ducati and I felt good; in Jerez I felt much better and in Sepang we were so competitive. Here, not so much, but I am confident for Qatar because in the past the Ducati has worked really well there, so I hope to have the same feeling as I had in Sepang and Jerez.
“You have to adapt your riding style but I felt comfortable quickly on this bike and now it is just the small details.”
New factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo has noted that the Aspar rider has been carrying a higher corner speed than he has managed on the GP17, but Bautista says the three-time world champion may simply be taking longer to adapt to the Desmosedici.
“We are coming from different bikes and Lorenzo is coming from another very good bike, an easy to ride bike, and maybe he is struggling a little bit more. But we see today that he is starting to be competitive and I am sure in the Qatar race he will fight for the victory.”