While it wasn’t a clean sweep of WorldSBK victories in Misano, Bautista’s feature race performances were arguably the best we’ve seen from any rider so far this season. 

Despite early battles with Jonathan Rea (race one) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (race two), the Spaniard ultimately had too much for both riders as he set a red-hot pace from start to finish, included setting a new race lap record which came after securing the all-time lap record in Superpole. 

Already leading the championship heading into Ducati’s home round, Bautista has now extended a 17 point lead to 36 over Rea. 

It’s also the first time this season that he’s finished ahead of Rea in all three races on a single weekend; flashbacks to 2019 anyone?

However, expecting Bautista to falter as was the case three years ago is very unlikely as the Spaniard seems to be achieving similar results while being well within his limit.

Isle of Man TT races - The big debate

On the other end, Rea and Razgatlioglu are clearly on the limit of what their machines are capable of, yet Bautista is still coming out on top more often than not.

“I’m happy because I can be fast but also, I can think on the bike,” said Bautista after winning race two. 

“I can be calm and attack when I have to attack and do my best to not pass over the limit. I’m quite happy. 

“I battled with Jonathan in the beginning and with Toprak and, in that moment I saw my pace could be a bit faster. I tried to get ahead like I did yesterday. It cost me some laps because the fight with Toprak was so nice. I enjoyed it a lot. 

“In the end, I can increase my gap to Toprak and get the victory.”

Bautista not thinking about the championship

Despite Bautista being in sublime form and the Ducati Panigale V4 R proving to be one of the best bikes on the grid, the Spaniard knows all too well that early season results don’t bring home the championship.

What the former MotoGP rider’s results are doing though, is showing both Rea and Razgatlioglu that nothing less than their best will be good enough. 

Bautista continued: “I don’t think about the championship. Three years ago, I think I was more than 60 points in front and then I lost the championship by more than 150. In this moment, it’s too soon. 

“I try to just be focused on the work that we are doing, enjoy the bike like I am doing and just get the maximum in all conditions. 

“Sometimes, if I can fight for the win, I will fight. If I can fight for fifth, I will fight. The important thing is just to finish the races, get more information, and have more fun riding the bike.”

Is Bautista, not Ducati, the main reason for the Italian marque’s WorldSBK title charge? 

While only a rider and machine operating at their best together can win a world championship, recent seasons seem to indicate that Bautista is perhaps getting more from his package than he should. 

Scott Redding was a respectable title threat in both 2020 and 2021, however, Bautista had more wins in 2019 than both of Redding’s seasons with Aruba.it Ducati, while he’s already one win away from matching the BMW rider’s tally from last year (7). 

Bautista is also the only rider to finish on the podium in every race so far this season, while team-mate Michael Rinaldi is the only other Ducati to have claimed a podium - finished third in both Misano feature races.