The final factory seat on the 2023 grid has been taken and, after much speculation and huge interest, it will be Michael Ruben Rinaldi who partners Alvaro Bautista at Aruba.it Racing - Ducati
The last remaining factory seat in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has been announced, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi keeping his place at the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team for 2023. He initially joined the team for the 2021 campaign and remained for 2022 and the Italian rider will stay with the team for next season as Ducati keep the same rider line-up. Confirmation that Rinaldi remains at the factory Ducati team means all five factory teams have kept the same line-up between 2022 and 2023.
Rimini-born Rinaldi made his WorldSBK debut in 2018 and finished 14th in the Championship despite only taking part in 16 of the 25 races that season, with Rinaldi consistently in the top ten in his debut season with the Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team. In 2019, Rinaldi made the switch to the BARNI Racing Team and continued to impress as he fought for the top ten positions all season.
The 2017 STK1000 Champion moved to Team Goeleven for 2020 and this was his breakthrough season as he claimed his first WorldSBK podiums and first win, all coming at MotorLand Aragon during the Teruel Round. First in Race 1 was backed up with third in the Tissot Superpole Race and second in Race 2 after three incredible fights with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Scott Redding, who then raced for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati outfit.
His performances in 2020, finishing seventh in the standings, earnt him a seat at the factory Ducati squad for 2021. In his first season with the team, he took two wins, on home soil at Misano, and seven podiums as he finished fifth in the standings. In 2022, Rinaldi currently sits fourth in the standings with three podiums to his name; two at Misano and one last time out at Magny-Cours. For 2023, he remains with the team for a third consecutive season. He will partner Championship leader and current teammate Alvaro Bautista next season, who was announced for 2023 in June.
Discussing his new contract for 2023, Rinaldi said: "I am very happy to race again next year for Aruba.it Racing – Ducati because I firmly believe in this project. I am very confident that in 2023 we can reap everything we have sown together with the team. I will be the first to work even harder, both in training and on track, to get better results and have the consistency that has been lacking so far. I want to thank Stefano Cecconi, Claudio Domenicali, Luigi Dall'Igna, Paolo Ciabatti, Serafino Foti, and all the people who trusted in me. I can't wait to be in Barcelona to get a good result and repay this confidence. And I am sure that 2023 will be a great year for us.”
Team Principal Stefano Cecconi added: “Michael has the potential to be one of the fastest riders in the World Superbike Championship and he has been able to prove it on several occasions. Our long journey together will be extended at least until the end of 2023, thus giving continuity and preserving the current team set-up that is also allowing us to be first in the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships. We are counting on 2023 to be for Michael the year of definitive consecration and at the same time we are confident that the work done so far can allow us, during this second part of the season, to reap the rewards in terms of satisfaction and consistency of results."
Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Sporting Director, said: “Michael Ruben Rinaldi is a young rider who grew up in WorldSBK with Ducati and has proven time and time again that he is very fast and knows how to make the most of the potential of the Panigale V4R machine. That's why we are also happy to count on him for the next Championship. With an extra year of experience with the official Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, we are convinced that he will be able to aspire to even more important results in 2023”
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