Since joining WorldSBK in 2019 Bautista’s speed has never been in question, however, experience and mistakes proved to be his undoing during his rookie campaign as he lost out to Jonathan Rea in the title fight. 

Moving to this season, Bautista’s return to Ducati after spending two seasons at Honda has been nothing short of brilliant, as he’s claimed six wins from 12 races (the most of any rider) and leads the championship from Rea by 36 points. 

Whether it’s tracks that were deemed favourable for the Ducati or not, Bautista’s performances haven't been affected at all.

Danilo Petrucci EXCLUSIVE! Feature-length interview | Crash.Net MotoGP 2022

The Spaniard has taken at least one win at every round so far this season, although Donington Park could prove to be his toughest test yet. 

Bautista has never won at Donington Park, while it was one of the first race weekends in 2019 where his title challenger began to suffer.

With that said, Bautista has looked like the total package in 2022, not to mention his Panigale V4 R could make a real argument for being the most complete machine on the grid. 

But what’s the main difference between Bautista as a rookie and the now four-year Superbike veteran: "The first thing you can notice is that he seems to have the situation more under control,” Bautista’s crew chief Giulio Nava told  

"In my opinion, I’m sure he’s fast, the problem is you need to provide him with the right tools to be fast. This means he needs to have the right bike for the first lap and for the last lap. It’s not just the chassis side, it’s the chassis, it’s the bike setup, it’s how you manage the tyre, and also himself. 

"Alvaro came here from MotoGP and started to win races. We did not know the bike deeply because it was a brand new bike. Alvaro didn’t know the championship deeply, he didn’t know the tyres, so I think now, with three years, one in Ducati and two with the previous manufacturer, there’s more experience. 

"In all situations, he knows how to manage them better. This is the biggest difference."

Is Bautista the favourite to become 2022 WorldSBK champion? 

Bautista already has a sizable lead over Rea, while his advantage over reigning world champion Toprak Razgatlioglu is a massive 79 points. 

While the former MotoGP rider had an even bigger lead during the early stages of the 2019 season, the way in which he’s currently winning is arguably more impressive. 

Title contenders Rea and Razgatlioglu have both thrown everything at the Spaniard through the opening four rounds - have visibly been on the limit in doing so, however, Bautista has remained calm and in control. 

Rea and Razgatlioglu are known for being mistake-free riders, but it is instead Bautista who has looked the least likely to make a mistake. 

Speaking about Bautista’s performance in Misano which was his best of the season thus far, Nava added: "If you look at Misano, he was first and he was fast at the end. If you are fast at the end of the race, it means you can be fast at the beginning of the race. 

"If you can set a 34.1s on Lap 18, you can set a 34.1s on Lap 5, Lap 7, and this for me, was something that Alvaro was doing in 2019. He was just riding the bike on the performance he is capable of. 

"It’s not just Alvaro. It’s Alvaro, the bike, the tyres, the track. If you have 10 degrees more on the track than the day before, the track will get more slippery, the tyre will act in a different way, many different factors you have to keep in mind. 

"Now, he’s more aware of what can happen, so he manages everything. Before, because he didn’t have enough knowledge let’s say, he set a lap time that for him was easy, so he did it without taking enough consideration of the other factors, the track, the tyre. I think it’s normal. It’s a matter of knowledge."