Alvaro Bautista showed no signs of easing up on his momentum up at the front of the WorldSBK field as he galloped to the top of the timesheets in the second of Friday's free practice sessions at Misano.
A first appearance on home soil for Aruba.it Ducati since securing the 2022 WorldSBK title, Bautista wound things up in the second 45min session of the day to showcase a performance advantage that will leave frustrated rivals scratching their heads overnight.
Reeling off a series of rapid laps over the course of the session, Bautista pumped in a remarkable 12 laps that would have been good enough to top the timesheets come the chequered flag.
In the end, the runaway championship leader - a winner in 11 of this year's 12 races thus far - peaked with a 1m 33.825secs. It made him the only rider to dip below 1m 34s and gave him a sizeable 0.4s margin over closest rival, Danilo Petrucci.
Climbing the classification with his final lap of the day, it allowed the satellite Barni Spark Ducati to split the factory Panigale V4 Rs, the ex-MotoGP rider no doubt relishing a return to competing on local soil after a year spent racing in the United States.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi consolidated Ducati's ominous pace in third place, himself a clear 0.2secs up on Alex Lowes, the Briton leading the chasing pack on the best of the factory Kawasaki ZX-10RRs.
FP1 pace setter Toprak Razgatlioglu focused on race pace to slip to fifth place, the Turkish rider nonetheless coming out as the best placed Yamaha rider.
Garrett Gerloff continued to impress as the top BMW rider in sixth place, the American heading off fellow independent Axel Bassani, the Motocorsa rider making it fourth Ducatis inside the top eight.
Maintaining a lower profile than usual as he works on curing the handling and stability issues on the ZX-10RR, Jonathan Rea was eighth quickest, with Scott Redding and Xavi Vierge completing the top ten.
Elsewhere, there were falls for GYTR GRT Yamaha's Dominique Aegerter, who came down at Turn 1 just ten minutes into the session, plus Iker Lecuona, who was a low-speed faller at Turn 14 with three minutes remaining.
|2023 Italian WorldSBK | Misano World Circuit | Combined FP Results FP1+FP2 | Rd. 5 of 12|
|1||Alvaro Bautista||ESP||Aruba Ducati||Ducati Panigale V4 R||1m 33.825|
|2||Danilo Petrucci||ITA||Barni Spark Racing||Ducati Panigale V4 R||1m 34.276|
|3||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||ITA||Aruba Ducati||Ducati Panigale V4 R||1m 34.283|
|4||Alex Lowes||GBR||Kawasaki Racing Team||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1m 34.477|
|5||Toprak Razgatlioglu||TUR||Pata Crescent Racing||Yamaha R1||1m 34.494|
|6||Garrett Gerloff||USA||Bonovo Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||1m 34.610|
|7||Axel Bassani||ITA||Motocorsa Racing||Ducati Panigale V4 R||1m 34.699|
|8||Jonathan Rea||GBR||Kawasaki Racing Team||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1m 34.713|
|9||Scott Redding||GBR||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK||BMW M 1000 RR||1m 34.826|
|10||Xavi Vierge||ESP||Team HRC||Honda CBR1000RR-R||1m 34.833|
|11||Tom Sykes||GBR||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK||BMW M 1000 RR||1m 34.867|
|12||Philipp Oettl||GER||Go Eleven||Ducati Panigale V4 R||1m 34.922|
|13||Iker Lecuona||ESP||Team HRC||Honda CBR1000RR-R||1m 34.932|
|14||Andrea Locatelli||ITA||Pata Crescent Racing||Yamaha R1||1m 35.063|
|15||Loris Baz||FRA||Bonovo Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||1m 35.134|
|16||Remy Gardner||AUS||GYTR GRT||Yamaha R1||1m 35.321|
|17||Dominique Aegerter||CHE||GYTR GRT||Yamaha R1||1m 35.455|
|18||Bradley Ray||GBR||Motoxracing||Yamaha R1||1m 35.523|
|19||Gabriele Ruiu||ITA||B-Max Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||1m 35.547|
|20||Lorenzo Baldassarri||ITA||GMT 94||Yamaha R1||1m 36.092|
|21||Hafizh Syahrin||MAL||MIE Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||1m 36.647|
|22||Tito Rabat||ESP||Puccetti Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1m 36.783|
|23||Luca Vitali||ITA||Orelac Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1m 36.908|
|24||Isaac Vinales||ESP||TPR by Vinales Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1m 37.504|
|25||Ryo Mizuno||JPN||MIE Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||1m 37.513|