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Bautista sets early pace in World Superbike practice

Spaniard Alvaro Bautista has underlined his World Superbike dominance in practice at Phillip Island. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Spanish motorcycle ace Alvaro Bautista has dominated the opening day of World Superbike practice at Phillip Island.

The reigning world champion came into his own in the second practice session on Friday, posting a fastest lap of one minute 30.632 seconds - a half-second faster than his nearest rivals.

"I am quite relaxed, for me the good thing is that in poor conditions, today it was hot conditions and I felt good on the bike and I enjoyed the bike," the Ducati rider said.

"I understand how to ride the bike in every condition and every situation and that is what is important.

"Then, we can try and get the maximum with whatever conditions we have. You can not make a race prediction because you don't know what will happen.

"For sure, at this track, it is not easy to go alone especially in the first half of the race, it is easier to follow the rider because it's a flowing track."

A clear-cut favourite to claim the season opener, Bautista will be chasing his sixth Phillip Island win.

Leading Yamaha's charge once again was Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), who continues to impress as he chases the championship in his third season with the team.

Locatelli's day was almost perfect, but he suffered a tumble at Turn 10 in the closing stages before walking away without issue.

Australia's Oli Bayliss also survived a testing moment coming out of Turn 12.

He got his Panigale V2 sideways on the wrong side of the iconic white and blue ripple strip but was able to keep it on two wheels to bring the final session of the day home in 15th for 10th place in the combined standings.

"We tried something different today, we tried a few set-ups from the test with a few additional adjustments," Bayliss said.

"It just went the wrong way in both sessions really. Struggled for grip both front and rear, both with a new tyre and on a used tyre.

"Definitely not ideal, but we could be in a little bit of a worse situation for tomorrow."

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