Alvaro Bautista was back in action aboard the Aruba.it Ducati just days after completing the 2021 WorldSBK season.
Switching from the Honda Fireblade he concluded his second year on at Lombok just last weekend, the Spaniard retuned to the Panigale V4R he arrived to the championship with in 2019, for a final 2021 test at Jerez de la Frontera.
Having prior knowledge of both team and machine - and a previous tally of 16 wins and 24 podiums - Bautista got quickly up to speed at the 4.4km track. Riding solo for the two day outing after soon-to-be teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi sustained injuries from the final race in Indonesia.
After an afternoon session on Wednesday dedicated to ergonomics and re-familiarising himself with the Panigale V4R, Thursday allowed Bautista and his team to work intensively on the bike set-up, completing 96 laps with the best time of 1’39.119.
The newly formed Aruba.it Ducati WorldSSP squad were alongside for the action as Nicolo Bulega enjoyed his first touch with the Panigale V2 as he switches to the production class from Moto2. The Italian racked up 61 laps with a best time of 1’42.952 on his introductory outing.
“I feel really good with the bike and also with the team,” Bulega commented from Spain, “especially with the team because they work really well.
“It was the first test for us, but it was a really good sensation. Everybody worked really well. For me, this was the most important thing for us. Also, my feeling with the bike was good.
“Yesterday, it was a little bit of a shock for me because I changed everything: the chassis, the engine, it all changed. It was difficult but today, already, it was much better, and the feeling was good. I think we can be happy about this test.”