While cautious of jumping to any conclusions before the racing has started, Tito Rabat feels 'the happiest I've been in MotoGP' after switching from Honda to Ducati machinery.

The Spaniard went from a frontrunner in Moto2, winning 13 races and the 2015 world championship for Marc VDS, to struggling for points on the team's Honda RCV in MotoGP.

But for his third premier-class season Rabat (like former team-mate Jack Miller) has switched to Ducati GP17 machinery - and set a competitive twelfth fastest lap time, out of 30 riders and only 0.717s from the top, during the opening 2018 test at Sepang.

"I'm very happy because we make a great three days of testing," said the new Reale Avintia rider.

"The first day was just to get a feeling for the bike and tyres after the winter break. Second day we started to change many things on the bike and the third day we pushed for a lap time and tried to do a long run.

"I crashed in the long run, but the lap time was really good."

Asked to explain the biggest difference between the Honda and Ducati, Rabat replied:

"They are very different bikes. I think the riding style you need for them is also very different and - depending on the rider - that can be good or bad. For me, for sure I like more the Ducati. The size of the bike is also better.

"But you never know until Qatar comes. When you are fast in the races that is when you can speak. But it's also true that with this bike I've gone much faster than before at Jerez [in November] and now also Malaysia.

"Like I said, you can never know until the races. So I'm just enjoying the moment because for sure this is the happiest I've been in MotoGP. Now we must get ready for Thailand."

Rabat was smiling despite a bandage on his arm, after falling during his long run.

"I crashed at Turn 5, the leathers opened and I made a little 'pizza' on my arm!" he grinned.

The Thailand test, the second of the three official pre-season outings, starts at the Buriram circuit on Friday.

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