Enea Bastianini’s impressive pace aboard the Desmosedici GP21 continued as he broke the unofficial MotoGP lap record at Sepang. 

Bastianini, who was already the top Ducati rider on day-one after claiming P4, set a blistering time of 1:58.131s to finish quickest, - 0.026s ahead of opening day pacesetter Aleix Espargaro.  

The Gresini rider’s time was a full tenth of a second faster than Danilo Petrucci managed in 2019, despite it being just his second day on the new bike. 

Asked if he expected to challenge for top spot and therefore be as quick as he was, Bastianini said: "Expecting to be first today, no! But to be fast, yes! When I tried this bike for the first time here I have seen a very nice potential. 

"Also in Gresini, the team is working very well. It’s incredible. Here in Malaysia we have worked a lot from yesterday and we have stayed fast from the start. 

"Today we have done one time attack and I’m in first position. This is incredible for all the team, but it’s only the test. We now have Mandalika which is a new track for everybody which will tell us more." 

The 2020 Moto2 champion could have gone even quicker had he not made a small mistake at the final corner, an error that Bastianini believes cost him the first ever 1m 57s lap. 

"I wasn’t happy because I went long (wide) in the last corner [laughs] and I was +0.3 and it was a little bit close," said the Italian. "Without that the 57 was very close. It was possible. But I haven’t done it." 

After already claiming two podiums as a rookie, Bastianini is in a prime position to challenge for race wins in 2022 after making the switch from the less favoured GP19 to GP21 package.  

Talking about the differences between both bikes, Bastianini alluded to the 21 package being much more 'constant' and easier to ride: "The 21 bike compared to the 19 is very easy to ride. The bike of last year; I always had a lot of (arm) pump in all the tracks, also a lot of shaking in the straight," said Bastianini. 

"All the free practices on the bike were different. This bike, every time I go outside it’s the same and also it’s more constant, it’s faster and you can make errors but it remains stable. 

"When I see the data, when I see Jack [Miller], Pecco [Bagnaia] and Jorge Martin, I have to improve in the middle of the corner because always my style is to be fast, I’m aggressive to enter the corner, but with this bike the potential is the power and I have to be faster in the exit of the corner."