DUCATI LAUNCH PREVIEW: will Bautista sport the #1 in 2023?

Friday, 20 January 2023 11:23 GMT

The official launch for Ducati’s 2023 WorldSBK and MotoGP™ factory teams takes place early next week in Italy

With launch season well and truly upon the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, the next launch takes place next week in the Italian alps. The Racing – Ducati squad will unveil their Panigale V4 R machines for 2023 in a sensational ceremony with reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista and teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi. With a new model introduced for 2023 of the Panigale V4 R, will there be a #1 plate on Bautista’s bike for this season?

2022 was a memorable campaign for Ducati in both WorldSBK and MotoGP™ as they completed the ‘double triple’; winning the Riders’, Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships in both World Championships. Bautista was able to master his Panigale V4 R to take Ducati’s first title in WorldSBK since 2011, while it was Pecco Bagnaia in MotoGP™ with the Desmosedici GP22 who took glory and ended Ducati’s drought.

The event will be the first chance to see the brand new Panigale V4 R decked out in the livery of the Racing – Ducati squad ahead of their testing programme starting for 2023 at Jerez next week, with the launch set to take place alongside the MotoGP™ team launch. The unveiling will take place in the Italian alps, in the ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio, with plenty of activities across the celebration from the 22nd-24th January.

Bautista took the title in 2022 after a season-long battle with rivals Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with Bautista able to secure the title in Race 2 in Indonesia with a podium finish. Since then, as always with Champions, there has been talk about whether Bautista would switch to the #1 plate – as Rea did when he was defending Championships and Razgatlioglu did for 2022 – or stick with his traditional #19 plate.

While Bautista will be aiming to defend his title in 2023 with the new V4 R at his disposal, teammate Rinaldi will have his own goals in mind. After taking three races wins in 2021, the Rimini-born rider did not win a race in 2022 and took four podiums; Rinaldi will be aiming he can fight for wins and podiums on a consistent basis and, after improving his Championship position every year since joining WorldSBK, could he break into the top three in 2023?

You can watch the launch LIVE on from 10:30 CET on Monday 23rd January, where you can discover whether Bautista chooses #19 or #1!

Get set for the 2023 WorldSBK campaign by re-watching incredible moments from the past using the WorldSBK VIdeoPass!