Heading into race one it appeared as though Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu would battle it out for victory, however, the Spaniard was able to keep pace with the Kawasaki rider after a poor first lap saw Rea relegated from first to fifth. 

Bautista and Rea were embroiled in a titanic battle for second which saw the two title rivals exchange positions at the Esses chicane, the Melbourne Loop and Goddards. 

Once Rea finally got through on the Ducati rider it was expected that he could put some distance between himself and the series leader, but instead it was Bautista who had the greater pace. 

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When Rea made a mistake at Goddards, Bautista duly took advantage before going on to create a small gap, that was before he lost the front at the same turn 11.

Despite the crash, Bautista was in high spirits: "That corner is always a bit tricky. You never do the same line because it’s difficult and it depends how you go over the bumps. It was a pity because at that time I braked hard but maybe I entered [a bit quickly] and I took the bump and then I lost the front. 

"In racing this can happen. But I’m happy because our performance was quite good and I felt quite strong on the bike. 

"Toprak [Razgatlioglu] was very fast at the beginning and then after a few laps Jonathan [Rea] started to pass me but just to stop me. It was not because he had more pace than me, he was just trying to stop my pace. 

"I tried to defend but then I thought ‘okay, if you want to be in front of me then stay and try to catch Toprak maybe’. I thought maybe he had a couple of tenths more than me and that we could catch Toprak together. 

"But no, in fact, we were slower. I just stayed some laps behind him and then I decided; I saw he was a bit on the limit so I thought I could go a tenth or two tenths faster. 

"He started to defend and we started to do some overtakes and it was so fun. I had to be very careful in all the corners because I know that he will always try to go inside."

Bautista ‘not on the limit’ at time of crashing 

"The feeling I had with the bike was that I was not on the limit. I think I crashed because I didn’t find the limit. That corner is a bas***d," continued Bautista 

"I think the rest of the track was perfectly okay, so maybe tomorrow I will go 2 or 3% less in that corner and then we go further from the limit in that corner. 

"Behind Jonathan I was feeling like I could go a bit faster. If I can come back I will do the same."

While Donington was set to present Ducati with its biggest test so far this season - which has proven to be the case - Bautista’s pace in race one was very encouraging. 

The Spaniard looked extremely comfortable whilst following Rea which is a good sign heading into Sunday’s double header, as the prospect of losing points to the six-time world champion in all three races looked like a big possibility after qualifying and practice. 

"Three years ago the performance was not there but today it was there," said Bautista. "I think that the bike was like I said at the beginning of the season - maybe the performance of the bike is not better but it is more balanced. 

"In a track where three years ago we suffered, now it seems we are more balanced and we are fast. 

"This is a good thing and I feel good with the bike. We don’t go much faster in the tracks where we were already fast, but in the tracks where we suffered, now we are closer to our maximum performance."