While factories like to talk of constant evolution and small developments in every area adding up to a lap time difference, the step change in Bastianini’s form suggested something more radical.

Bastianini landed the factory ride on the back of four 2022 victories with the GP21 at Gresini. But when he then jumped forward two years to the latest GP23, the Italian struggled with engine braking on corner entry.

“I know one of the strongest points of last year’s bike [corner entry], and we have lost this strongest point this year from my side. But if you check Jorge Martin you see he’s the strongest. It depends on the riding style,” Bastianini explained.

“Me and Pecco, we have a different style but are closer compared to Jorge or another rider.

“I tried to do some modifications to the bike but it’s important to adapt to the bike. It’s DNA is this one and I accepted [the need] to change my riding style for this bike, for this year. For the next one we have to come back with something different to be stronger.”

Bastianini wasn’t exactly sure of the cause of the problem. “My feeling is coming from the engine brake… [But] we have changed engine brake many times and nothing has changed.

“For me, it’s the [2023] engine which is a bit different. The rest of the bike is really, really similar to last year. But the engineers said they prefer me (to use) this one.

Adaption to the GP23 was then further delayed when Bastianini lost the opening part of the season to a shoulder injury after being taken down by Luca Marini at round one.

Bastianini was then sidelined again after triggering a turn one accident in Catalunya, sustaining fractures to his ankle and hand.

Upon his return, Bastianini’s results went downhill from 8th in Indonesia to 10th in Australia and then 13th in Thailand, after which the decision was made to try a thumb brake.

“After Thailand, when I saw the data, especially of Jorge, with a lot of rear brake and really, really constant, I thought, ‘OK, let's try’.

“Because my braking this year is a disaster, every time it was difficult to stop the bike. It was so nervous, and every lap I made a different line. And from Malaysia not.”

“It’s a big change. The adaptation is not simple. It’s completely different compared to using your foot, but I improved lap by lap.

“Usually with this bike, it was difficult to be stable with the brake and to do the same corner [line] every lap. Sometimes I went wide, sometimes I was short, and with this [thumb] rear brake, it's much easier.

“You can modify [the line] better. With the foot you are not really precise. And we have made a step from Malaysia.”

With hindsight, the obvious question is why it hadn’t been tried before.

“Mentally, you have to prepare, because it's a big change. And my crew chief said, ‘OK, if you use it, it's better, if you don't use it, don't worry’.

“But [by Malaysia] in my mind there was only, ‘no, I have to use it. I have seen a difference in the data and I want to improve in that direction’.

“And that was the correct choice.”

Fortunately for Bastianini, the early signs are that the Ducati GP24 has regained some of its natural corner entry ability compared to the GP23.