Alvaro Bautista completes "a good test" on Ducati MotoGP bike

Alvaro Bautista has completed his two-day test of the Ducati MotoGP bike in Misano, setting a fastest lap of 1:31.590 and completing 99 laps.

Alvaro Bautista, 2023 Misano private test, Ducati Desmosedici GP23. - Ducati

Alvaro Bautista has completed his test on the Ducati Desmosedici GP23 MotoGP bike at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, ending his two days just over half-a-second off the MotoGP lap record at the Italian track.

Bautista, the reigning World Superbike Champion, completed a total of 99 laps over the two days, and set a fastest lap time of a 1:32.590.

That was without attempting a time attack, according to the Racing Ducati press release that was published after the test. In that case, it is worth comparing Bautista's best lap time against the race lap record at Misano in the MotoGP class, which was set on the final lap of the 2022 San Marino Grand Prix by Enea Bastianini. The then-Gresini Racing rider's lap time on that occasion was a 1:31.868, meaning Bautista was 0.722 seconds off the best pace of Bastianini last year.

Following the two-day test, Alvaro Bautista said: "It was a good test. I had a lot of fun getting back on the Ducati Desmosedici GP and I'm satisfied with the work we did. Between the first and second day, the feeling improved, also thanks to the team and Ducati, who put me in a position to adjust the bike with some changes that helped me feel even more comfortable.

"We also worked to find confidence with different tyre solutions and the results were tangible. The time? It's not important, also because I never pushed for the time: there was no reason to take risks. The future? The future is at Donington and Imola. We have two very close rounds and after this good experience I just have to think about the WorldSBK championship."

Bautista is back in racing action next weekend (30 June - 1 July) at the UK round of the 2023 Superbike World Championship.

This article was originally published on 12 June 2023, and was updated on 20 June 2023. It was updated again, with the above text, on 23 June 2023. The previous versions of this article can be read below.

The two-day private test for reigning WorldSBK champion Alvaro Bautista on the Ducati Desmosedici GP23 MotoGP bike has begun in Misano.

Bautista was given the test as his reward for winning Ducati's first WorldSBK title in 11 years last season, when he helped Ducati complete a 'double' of the premier short circuit road racing series, along with Francesco Bagnaia's MotoGP title triumph with the previous iteration of the bike Bautista is now testing in Misano, the GP22.

Bautista's Misano test is his first taste of Grand Prix machinery since 2018, when he tested for the factory Ducati team at the post-season Jerez test before he began his WorldSBK duties in his first stint with Racing. This time, Bautista is in the same Racing colours he wears in WorldSBK (with the exception of the Emilia Romagna round where he and teammate Michael Rinaldi were dressed in one-off yellow liveries), as he is testing with the same team that put together Michele Pirro's wildcard effort at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month.

Although there remains anticipation of a MotoGP wildcard for Bautista later in the season, there is no confirmation of if, when, or where this might happen.

This article was originally published on 12 June 2023, and was updated on 20 June 2023 with the above text. The original article can be read below.

Alvaro Bautista is set to complete a two-day test on a Ducati MotoGP bike at Misano later this month.

Bautista’s test is scheduled for the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on 20-21 June 2023, and is effectively a reward for his part in Ducati’s ‘double’ in 2022, when the Spaniard won the World Superbike Championship while Francesco Bagnaia won the MotoGP riders’ title.

Bautista is also well on his way to defending the WorldSBK title he won last year, and has won 14 of the first 15 races in 2023, including all three races at the Emilia Romagna round of the series eight days ago (from time of writing, 12 June 2023), also in Misano.

The test will also come before the next round of WorldSBK, the UK round at Donington on 30 June-2 July, and will fall between this weekend’s German Grand Prix and next weekend’s Dutch TT.  

The outing on the Ducati Desmosedici will be the first time Bautista has ridden Grand Prix machinery from the Bologna manufacturer since the end of the 2018 season, his final in MotoGP, when he ended the season replacing Jorge Lorenzo at the Australian Grand Prix, and also rode for Ducati at the post-season Jerez test.

On this occasion in Misano, Bautista will ride in his usual Racing colours, with the same team that worked on Michele Pirro’s wildcard entry at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

MotoGP wildcard?

The test of course opens the question of whether Bautista will race a MotoGP for Ducati this year. It is certainly a possibility. Calendar clashes between WorldSBK and MotoGP mean that he will be unlikely to race in MotoGP before the end of the WorldSBK season, and that Misano is an impossibility, but World Superbike ends in mid-October this year, whereas MotoGP finishes at the end of November. 

After the WorldSBK season finishes, there are five MotoGP races left: Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Qatar, and Valencia. 

The Australian Grand Prix in Phillip Island would likely be high on Bautista’s list, and it is the week after the WorldSBK finale in Argentina. Otherwise, the final MotoGP round of the year in Valencia would likely be the location, and would set Bautista up to have the opportunity to repeat the feat of Troy Bayliss in 2006.

Another choice would be the Catalan Grand Prix. There is not really any possibility for Bautista to have won the WorldSBK title, mathematically, before the Catalan round of MotoGP, but it is a home round for Bautista and comes one week before the French round of WorldSBK.

The 2023 MotoGP World Championship continues this weekend at the Sachsenring for the German Grand Prix. Alvaro Bautista will next be in competitive action on 30 June - 1 July at Donington for the UK round of WorldSBK.

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