The Spaniard appears to be back to his best after winning three of the first six WorldSBK races this season. 

Following his much-anticipated return to Ducati, expectation was extremely high for Bautista given the run of results he put together in 2019. 

And although he’s not shown the same level of dominance in certain races, Bautista, especially in Aragon was a step above the rest. 

Of course, sustaining a title challenge throughout the season will rely on Bautista avoiding mistakes or picking up injuries, two areas that plagued the latter part of 2019 for the ex-MotoGP rider. 

But unlike 2019, Bautista has the challenge of not just beating Rea but also Razgatlioglu, that’s if they don’t beat themselves. 

As we saw in Assen and Aragon for that matter, the will to win is so high between the three contenders that racing in 2022 has been as ferocious as ever. 

While clean and fair for the most part, that’s not to say contact hasn’t been made on several occasions, in fact, in race two at the Dutch TT, it went from minor contact to heavy contact and a crash for both Rea and Razgatlioglu. 

The DNF has dropped both riders behind Bautista who now leads the championship by 18 points - significantly for Razgatlioglu the reigning world champion is already 45 points, yes 45 POINTS behind Bautista.

Rea has already admitted that nothing will change between him and Razgatlioglu, meaning on-track action going forward will be unmissable. 

But in the greater scheme of things, could this be a benefit for Bautista? The Ducati rider is yet to really get his elbows out in battle despite being in contention for victory in nearly every race. 

Bautista calls for Rea, Razgatlioglu to be ‘calmer’

As stated above, racing between the three championship contenders is unlikely to change especially as the intensity rises, however, Bautista feels the aggressive riding styles of Rea and Razgatlioglu could be a problem further down the road.  

Bautista added: "I think both Jonny and Toprak are very aggressive, and we saw many battles in the past. Fortunately, nothing happened like it did in Assen. 

"I think they have to be calmer in the battle, especially because if they start battling in the races, they go more and more aggressive with each pass. 

"For me, for sure it’s not a problem; they can fight all they want! We’ll see more battles between them, and I hope to be there fighting for good positions."

Bautista ‘stronger than ever’ as he looks to bring Ducati their first WorldSBK title since 2011

Whether Rea and Razgatlioglu continue to ramp up their on-track action or not, expect Bautista to be there as the Spaniard’s pace and consistency so far in 2022 has been nothing short of sensational. 

Testing suggested Bautista could (important to stress the word ‘could’) be in the fight, but since racing has officially got underway, the Ducati rider has elevated his level even further. 

Bautista continued by saying: "At the moment, I’m enjoying this championship a lot; I feel so strong, physically and mentally. 

"I think this is one of the best moments, not just in WorldSBK, but in my career. I feel stronger than ever and more ambitious than before."