Newly re-signed Pull&Bear Aspar rider Alvaro Bautista is expects the same 'relationship' when he switches from the Ducati GP16 to championship-leading GP17 in MotoGP next season.

The Spaniard has claimed a best of fourth place so far this year, alongside two further top-six finishes, while the latest GP17 has won two races and briefly topped the points standings in the hands of factory star Andrea Dovizioso.

"Well, there is a long way to go before then, a lot of races on my GP16. I need to make the most of them and squeeze everything out of my current bike, and the Ducati GP17 will be next year," Bautista said of his future machine.

"Given the results so far this season, with two race wins and the championship leader on a GP17, it is obviously the sister bike to the GP16 but improved in some areas. I don't think my relationship with the GP17 will be too different to the GP16."

GP17s will also be available to the second Pramac rider and at least one of the Avintia line-up.

Bautista is one of the most experienced rider in MotoGP having raced for Suzuki, Honda, Aprilia and now Ducati.

"Its main strength is the engine but I also like the chassis," he said of the Desmosedici. "When everything is in place it is a really fun bike to ride: aggressive but smooth, trying not to work the electronics too hard, sliding the bike into the corners...

"It is the whole package, because when you turn onto the straights and feel that power it's enjoyable. It is quite a complete bike, maybe not as difficult to handle as I expected because of what I'd heard about it from other riders in the past, but if you can find a set-up you can have a lot of fun on it."

Despite his strong rides, four DNFs have left Bautista twelfth in the championship at the midway stage of the season.

"I think we could have had some better results during the first half of the season but we have let ourselves down in a few races," he admitted. "Our potential is higher than the current championship standings suggest. Now we need to focus on not making the same mistakes again and improving every time to close the gap on the guys in front.

"Each of the nine races has had its positives, we have all got to know each other better and we are working with the bike to find a base that I feel comfortable on and that works at every circuit."

Looking ahead, he added: "I think our target is the same as before, which is to keep working like we have up to now and give 100 per cent to try and be close to the top five.

"I have said many times that it is difficult because of the number of factory bikes and the level of this championship, which is incredible, everything is so close, but that is our target and that is what we will be fighting for in each of the remaining nine races."

Team-mate Karel Abraham is 19th in the world championship, on the older GP15 machine. Should the Czech stay he will receive a GP16 next season.

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