The Ducati rider finished day-one of the Catalunya WorldSBK test two tenths clear of 2019 rival Jonathan Rea.

Had it not been for a late time attack from the Kawasaki rider, then a representative gap of four tenths would have split Bautista and GRT Yamaha rider Garrett Gerloff. 


Although testing programs have varied for every team, therefore a true indication of every rider’s pace is hard to judge, Bautista has so far been able to set lightning fast times with ease, whether that be in Portimao, Misano or in Catalunya.

Aside from performing well at different tracks, Bautista has also been incredibly fast in both qualifying and race trim. 

In order to set his fastest day-one lap time in Catalunya, Bautista used the SCX tyre, a compound he was able to make work over full race distance on several occasions last season.

Bautista said: "I did it with the SCX basically because, here, we have the SC0 and SCX tyres. They are tyres for the race. In fact, last year, I raced with the SCX tyre but today the conditions were colder, so the tyre drop off was a bit more than when the track is warmer. 

"Today, I felt some difference between the SCX and SC0 but, definitely, if today was the race, I wouldn’t know which tyre to use because the SC0 is more consistent."

Aside from the struggles of determining which tyre would yield the most performance at present, Bautista also tested Pirelli’s new front option, along with working on Ducati’s new swingarm and front fork upgrades.

Bautista concluded: "We had some items to try, especially with the swingarm because today we just worked with the new one to try to change something in the swingarm to get more feedback and improve the performance.” 

"We did some testing and it was very positive. It’s a tyre that can maybe be here for the Catalan Round so it was important to test. We also worked on the front fork, trying different inside items to make the front fork more or less rigid to see if we could find something positive and we found it, so I’m happy. 

"My feeling with the bike was good and I think this is more important than the lap time. I enjoyed riding this track, it was my first time with Ducati, and it has been a positive day."

Given Bautista’s previous success with Ducati in 2019, and the added experience he's now gained after two seasons with Honda, the former MotoGP rider is not only looking like someone who who could fill Redding’s shoes as the third best rider in the class, but instead a rider who could make a serious push at being the new WorldSBK champion.