Like in Jerez last week, the WorldSBK champion proved to be fast, consistent and firing on all cylinders aboard the new Panigale V4 R at the final European pre-season test.

Bautista led the way following the opening session of the day as he battled Toprak Razgatlioglu for top spot.

The pair’s battle continued into the afternoon as the Pata Yamaha rider went back to the top of the timingsheets, before Bautista responded as he looked on course to finish fastest.

However, a late effort from Rinaldi on race tyres, and Rea, resulted in the top three being separated by less than a tenth.

While it was another strong day for the world champion, Bautista faced an early issue after feeling ‘something strange’ in the corners. 

"In the end I’m happy. In the morning I felt something strange on the bike and we checked all the sectors and they were the same as the race weekend, so at the end the bike was working strange because it was working in a different way in all the corners," added Bautista. 

"When we fixed it, suddenly I felt, boom! We were quite consistent throughout the day and we tried some items for the set-up, especially on the front fork. 

"We didn’t find something better, in fact, we found something similar or even worse because I think the base we have is quite good so we want to find something, maybe not a big improvement, but something that helps me a little bit. At the moment it’s not easy to find."

Despite ‘big’ improvements not being found, something that was always going to be difficult given the fact Ducati have introduced a new bike and the last model helped bring Bautista the world title, the Spanish rider felt as though the potential is there after setting a time that was less than a tenth off the lap record on race tyres.  

Bautista added: "But I'm quite confident because I rode with the SC0 tyre all day and my fastest lap was with the SC0 tyre. That means we are in the right place. [Day-two] we have other ideas for the set-up to make the bike a bit more stable because I had some problems exiting the corner. 

"Maybe, due to my weight I can’t push too much to the bike and I have a bit of instability. We have some front tyres from Pirelli to try that I didn’t try in Jerez."