STAYING IN RED: Bautista remains with Ducati for the 2024 WorldSBK campaign

Thursday, 4 May 2023 13:05 GMT

After dropping hints, Alvaro Bautista’s future has been revealed as he commits to Ducati and WorldSBK for the 2024 campaign

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field descends on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Round for the 2023 Prosecco DOC Catalunya Round and one of the key figures in the silly season has had their future confirmed. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) had been discussing his future in recent weeks but it has now been confirmed that he will remain with the Racing – Ducati squad for the 2024 campaign.

Bautista had become a key player in the silly season for the 2024 grid after he dropped hints at Assen that his future was unclear and that he had two choices for next year. However, Bautista and Ducati have opted to renew their partnership for next season after his strong start to his title defence. Bautista has won eight out of nine races so far in 2023 heading into the Catalunya Round, where he took a hat-trick last year, as he looks to become a double WorldSBK Champion after his title success last year.

Bautista made his WorldSBK debut with the team in 2019 and took the Championship by storm by winning the first 11 races of the season as he looked to stop Jonathan Rea’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) run of titles. However, a series of crashes throughout the second half of the season meant he finished second behind Rea and he left Ducati at the end of the 2019 season to join Team HRC, where he remained for two seasons.

During his time at Honda on the CBR1000RR-R, Bautista took three podiums across two campaigns and took a best finish of ninth in the Championship standings. After two seasons, Bautista made a return to Ducati for 2022 and he returned to winning ways instantly as the season got underway at Aragon. He claimed victory at all but two tracks on the 2022 calendar as he racked up 16 wins and 31 podiums from 36 races to become Ducati’s first WorldSBK Champion since Carlos Checa in 2011. His title defence, on the new model Panigale V4 R, has started strongly with eight wins in nine races and he sits 56 points clear of nearest rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK).

Discussing his contract for 2024, Bautista said: "After 21 years spent in the elite of world motorcycling, in the paddocks of MotoGP and WorldSBK, I now feel in excellent shape, both physically and mentally. I can say that I am in the best moment of my career: I have a lot of fun riding the bike and I have the pleasure of working with a team that I consider a second family. By the way, on a personal level, my family is getting bigger, and the babies are growing up and that is why the decision to race in 2024 was a choice I wanted to make together with them. We decided to continue and I'm very happy to stay with the Racing - Ducati team with whom I've always had a wonderful relationship. I am happy that they still want me, even though I am a little old. One more year together, with the hope of keeping the fantastic feeling with the bike, the certainty of an extraordinary working relationship, and, of course, the goal of aiming at great results.”

Stefano Cecconi, Team Principal at Racing – Ducati, added: "We are extremely happy to have extended our relationship with Alvaro and it will be a pleasure to continue a collaboration that has always been excellent both on a professional and human level. Alvaro has brought our team the first great success, the one we have been chasing since 2015, when we decided to embark on this fascinating adventure with Ducati; but instead of giving us only satisfaction, this success is spurring us to do even more. The determination and commitment that have allowed us to achieve this target have also ensured excellent results in the first three rounds of the current season: our common goal is, therefore, to continue in this direction in order to achieve other important successes together in the future.”

Luigi Dall'Igna, General Manager at Ducati Corse, said: "The world title win, but also the sensational start to the season that we have witnessed this year, are yet another demonstration of the magical moment that Bautista is going through. Alvaro is a very talented and experienced rider and with our Panigale V4 R, he has found a fantastic balance that currently allows him to make a real difference. We are therefore very happy to be able to continue with him in 2024. Now the goal is to stay focused on the current season and try to maintain this positive trend in the future as well.”

Watch Bautista’s title defence unfold in style using the WorldSBK VideoPass!