The first piece of Ducati’s World Superbike puzzle was revealed today, as the Italian brand is welcoming back Alvaro Bautista to its ranks for the 2022 season.
Alvaro Bautista is set to replace Scott Redding (who is headed to the BMW Motorrad squad for more money), and all signs point to Chaz Davies also leaving the Italian brand at the end of the season (Davies is currently 10th in the WorldSBK Championship).
This is of course not the first time that Bautista has been in the Ducati Corse WSBK garage, as the Spaniard left the Italian brand after a rollercoaster 2019 season, which saw Bautista dominate the first half of the season on the Ducati Panigale V4 R…and then fall to shambles in the second-half of the series.
Despite a rough break-up at the end of the 2019 season, clearly both parties are focusing on the positives from their last collaboration, which generated 16 race wins and 24 podiums, along with runner-up status in the rider’s championship.
Despite the promise of HRC’s involvement back in the WorldSBK paddock, and the debut of the new Honda CBR1000RR-R, Bautista and the Honda team have failed to see the results.
The Spaniard is currently 11th in the championship (tied with Chaz Davies on points), while his teammate Leon Haslam is 13th – a far cry from where the factory team would like to be with a new superbike.
Fingers in the paddock point to the CBR and the Honda team as the problem, which is probably why Ducati feels a second chance with Bautista could take both back to winning form.
Who will race alongside Bautista remains an open debate, though Ducati Corse could take in another former rider, as Danilo Petrucci has been linked to the ride as well.
The soon-to-be-ex-MotoGP rider could find himself back with Ducati in WorldSBK, but there are also musings of him racing rally raid bikes for KTM, at The Dakar and other similar events.
Source: Ducati Corse