Alvaro Bautista says he’s pleasantly surprised at his debut day on the Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale V4 adapting to life in World Superbikes for 2019 having ended his first day just three-tenths of a second off pace-setter Jonathan Rea.

The Spaniard switches from MotoGP to World Superbikes this winter having secured a factory Ducati deal in the production bike series and made his debut outing on the new Ducati V4 on the opening day of testing in Jerez having missed the Aragon test due to MotoGP commitments.

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Bautista completed 62 laps, running two qualifying simulations, alongside gaining vital track time becoming familiar with the Superbike and ended his debut day with a best lap of 1m 39.979s to finishing second fastest behind Rea.

Reflecting on his first experiences of the bike, Bautista feels adapting his riding style to his 250cc days better suits the Superbike along with its electronics specification and Pirelli tyres.

“It is very different to the MotoGP bike. First of all, the bike has less power, on the straights and I thought something was wrong! No, it was the engine which is like that,” Bautista said. “The stability is much less. This morning I did my first exit with the rain tyre because the track had some wet patches I did one lap and had to change the tyres because it was impossible. It was like pudding on the track.

“Then with the slick it didn’t change a lot, I moved a lot still, so I have to adapt myself to this movement because it is normal with this bikes and these tyres.

“The character is similar just with less power. This bike, you have to ride it more like a 250cc, more speed in the corner and less aggressive with the gas because otherwise if you are aggressive like in MotoGP then the bike starts to move a lot and it never stops so you have to be very careful with the gas in order to make the bike stable. It is a bit different but I enjoyed it because it reminded me of the 250cc but with more power.

“I have to change a little bit. When you ride more and more you feel like you have to ride like that so it is not very difficult to change my riding style. Especially because in 250cc I was fast so for me it is quite easy to adapt my style in that way.”

Bautista, who is expected to retain a Ducati MotoGP test role along with his World Superbike commitments for 2019, has also been making himself familiar with an all-new team crew at Aruba.it Racing Ducati and the challenges production bike racing provides.

“I enjoyed the day because I started to discover the bike and started to work with the team,” he said. “I didn’t know the guys, here only Giulio Nava who worked with me at Aprilia, we start to know each other as part of the plan today.

“We didn’t make a lot of changes to the bike just small adjustments with suspension and electronics but nothing serious just ride and get to know the bike.

“I think the brakes, I didn’t expect the power of braking to stop the bike because you know with the carbon brakes you have more power but with these steel brake you have enough power to stop the bike so I was surprised by this.”

Bautista completes his first World Superbike test on Tuesday (November 27) at Jerez before the winter testing freeze begins in December.

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