The Italian, who was unable to make the step needed to challenge teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu during his second season in WorldSBK last year, has looked much closer to the 2021 world champion so far in pre-season testing.

However, testing is now complete and the first race weekend is nearly upon us which will give a clear indication as to whether Locatelli can continue the form he showed on day two in particular.

Locatelli finished just +0.072s down on defending Superbike champion Bautista, which is one of the reasons why renewed confidence has been found.

Speaking after Tuesday’s final day of pre-season testing, the 2020 WorldSSP champion said: "The feeling from yesterday was really good and I enjoyed this test! I enjoy riding on this track, it’s a bit special for me! 

"When we finish the day, we go in the house and it is feeling like home, but also Phillip Island is just a really nice track – when you are riding you see the ocean and it’s something different. 

"I’m really happy about these two days because we were really fast from the first day, and I think we were fast in every session – so this is a good point. The feeling with the bike was amazing in all the sessions. 

"Now we need to look forward for the race weekend. To be honest, I think we are close to being ready and we have a really good package, so we need to trust and to believe! 

"In general, I have more confidence with the bike, we work very well during the winter tests and also here in Phillip Island, so I think we are ready to fight."

On the other side of the garage, day two at Phillip Island was a quiet one for Razgatlioglu as the Turkish star was only tenth quickest in FP2.

But after topping day one, and therefore showing speed when needed, the Pata Yamaha rider looks to be a contender heading into the weekend despite being ‘not so happy’.

"We tried many parts and different set-up on the two days, looking for best rear grip and race set up," added Razgatlioglu. "In the end I am not so happy today, we did not find the best solution, so maybe we go back to yesterday setting – you know, my best lap time. 

"Now my team are working for the weekend. I am just focused on set-up, not fast lap, I just focus this and trying the new parts – not push a lot. 

"It can be easy to try too many parts or set-up and be lost, but now we are coming back again and it's time to race. 

"On Friday, everybody start pushing for the new season – always we try best position, maybe in the race we are big fighting again but we will see – I will try my best!"