Spaniard Alvaro Bautista threw down the gauntlet on the opening day of the World Superbike test at Phillip Island in Australia as he topped the times on the Aruba.it Ducati.
The former MotoGP rider, who is making his debut in the series this season, posted the quickest lap in 1m 30.743s on the new V4-R machine, which left him more than four-tenths-of-a-second clear of Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.
Reigning champion Jonathan Rea, who was unscathed following a crash at turn 10, was third fastest for the Kawasaki Racing Team, with the Northern Ireland rider setting his best lap in 1m 31.1892s.
Bautista’s team-mate, Chaz Davies, struggled to match his pace as he encountered some technical problems early on.
Eugene Laverty, who is riding a Ducati V4-R for Team Go Eleven, focused on his base set-up and improving rear grip as the Toome man ended day one 15th fastest on the combined times.
Tom Sykes impressed for the BMW Motorrad team as he slotted into fourth with a time of 1m 31.300s followed by Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Marco Melandri on the GRT Yamahak with seven tenths covering the top six.
British rider Leon Camier was 11th quickest on the Moriwaki Althea Honda, with team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari in 16th.
The test concludes on Tuesday ahead of the opening round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island this weekend.
Official times: Phillip Island Day One:
1. Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) 1’30.743
2. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’31.146
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1’31.189
4. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) 1’31.300
5. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1’31.399