Alvaro Bautista says he’s relishing the prospect of uncovering what Ducati’s GP18 bike provides compared to his usual GP17 aside from more engine power as he prepares to step-in for the injured Jorge Lorenzo.

Bautista got the nod from Ducati bosses to fill-in for Lorenzo, who underwent surgery on left wrist ligament damage on Wednesday, to secure his maiden outing on the GP18 factory bike at this weekend's Australian MotoGP round.

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The Spaniard has spent the campaign competing on the year-old GP17 with Angel Nieto Ducati – and is replaced at his team by Mike Jones for Phillip Island – and sealed his factory Ducati place for this weekend with a career equal-best of fifth place last time out in Japan.

While he’s confident the factory bike will deliver more power compared to its previous model, Bautista feels it remains an unknown on how the GP18 bike’s performance will differ to his usual machine.

“It is difficult to see because you brake in one point, they brake harder or deeper but you don’t know if it is the rider or the bike that gives you the chance to do it,” Bautista said. “One thing is clear that on the straight I saw that my bike was slower than their bike, that’s the only point that is clear, for corners, turning, braking stability I have to discover.

“I don’t know exactly how much, better or worse, the GP18 is compared to the GP17. For sure the engine is much stronger.”

Bautista, who joins the factory Ducati squad in World Superbikes next year, accepts the one-off outing on the GP18 will be tricky at a circuit which the Italian manufacturer has struggled at in recent years but feels the opportunity was one he couldn’t miss.

“I have to adapt to the new bike and also the engineers need some time to know me, my preferences and my riding style,” he said. “It is not easy in just one weekend, it is very difficult, but in any case I will try to enjoy every moment.”

Lorenzo is targeting a return to action next weekend at the Malaysian MotoGP round at Sepang, with Bautista set to head back to Angel Nieto Ducati for his final two races before switching to World Superbikes.