Strong start for Bautista in first WorldSBK test aboard Panigale V4 R

Spaniard second in maiden Racing – Ducati outing.

Image: Supplied.

Alvaro Bautista has impressed in his first time out aboard a WorldSBK machine during day one of testing at Jerez in Spain, recording the second fastest time aboard the all-new Ducati Panigale V4 R.

The Spaniard’s priority was to get acquainted with the newly-introduced machine as he transitions from MotoGP, displaying strong form with both the bike and the team to lodge a best-time of a 1m39.979s, just 0.322s off four-time champion and pace-setter Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team).

Bautista, who was joined by Racing – Ducati teammate Chaz Davies in third, explained the WorldSBK-spec motorcycle requires a different riding style to that of the Desmosedici he piloted in MotoGP, although the pair still retain certain Ducati characteristics.

“It felt like the first day at school and, while it’s still very early, I’ve been enjoying the bike quite a bit,” said Bautista. “For sure, the V4 R is different compared with the Desmosedici, in terms of engine, chassis and tires, but the character is similar. You need to ride it differently though, a bit smoother.

“We did not make many changes, just small adjustments, and we basically just tried to get as much kilometres as possible under our belt to get acquainted with the whole team. I was surprised to be this fast, but we must not get carried away and we’ll keep following the same plan tomorrow.”

The WorldSBK newcomer will be back out on track tomorrow along with the remainder of teams in attendance for the final day of testing in 2018.


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