The double MotoGP podium finisher has moved from the now-defunct Avintia squad to Gresini Racing, and has had a machinery upgrade from Ducati – taking over the GP21 Francesco Bagnaia, Jack Miller and Jorge Martin took to seven race wins last year.
The impressive sophomore ended the Sepang test fastest of all after posting a lap record-smashing 1m58.131s on a rain-hit Sunday to lead the combined times.
Explaining the differences between his 2021 bike and the 2019 one he rode in his rookie campaign last year, Bastianini says the improvements are night and day.
Not only is the 2021 Desmosedici faster, it is also much more stable and less punishing when he makes a mistake.
“The ‘21 bike, compared to the ’19, is very easy to ride, because the bike of last year I had a lot of pumping always, in all the tracks,” Bastianini explained after topping the Sepang test.
“And also I had a lot of shaking in the straights.
“All the free practices, the bike was different. This one, all the times I go out it’s the same.
“It’s also more consistent and faster. You can come back from any error and the bike is stable. This is really nice.”
Bastianini has seen on the data of his fellow Ducati riders that he is losing out in the middle of corners compared to the others, and recognises that he needs to alter his style to take profit of the power of the bike exiting turns.
“When I see the data, when I see Jack, Pecco, Jorge Martin, I have to improve in the middle of the corner,” Bastianini noted.
“Because always my style is to be fast into [the corner] – I’m aggressive on the entry to the corner.
“But with this bike, the potential is in the power and I have to be faster in the exit of the corner.”
When comparing his bike with current factory-spec Ducati, Bastianini sees – for now – that the packages are similar.
He believes this could be an advantage to him in the early races of 2022, as he simply needs to set up the bike rather than develop it – but is sure the factory will soon out-develop him with the GP22.
“For the moment, it’s not really different,” Bastianini added.
“It’s very similar. The new bike has a new engine, but the engine of the 21 is good.
“Can be an advantage [having a fully-developed 2021 bike], but I think for some races – the first two races. After, the official team works a lot – Gigi [Dall’Igna, Ducati general manager] is incredible.”