With the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock heading to the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the fifth round of the 2023 campaign, the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round, Ducati Corse’s General Manager, Gigi Dall’Igna, discussed the upcoming home round for Ducati, Alvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) form in 2022 and 2023 as well as his potential teammate for the 2024 season.
BAUTISTA’S FORM: “He makes me happy…”
Bautista returned to Ducati for the 2022 campaign after two years with Team HRC and was crowned World Champion at the end of the season after a thrilling, season-long fight with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Bautista won 16 races and claimed 31 podiums last year in 36 races as he was crowned WorldSBK Champion for the first time, and he’s started 2023 in imperious form with 11 wins from the first 12 races of the season. His form has seen him take a 69-point lead in the Championship standings over Razgatlioglu and Dall’Igna has lavished praise on the 2022 World Champion.
Discussing Bautista’s form, Dall’Igna said: “Every time that I see a race with Alvaro, he makes me happy. I cannot ask for anything better, honestly. I’m really happy with his feeling with the bike, with his style of work because he works very well with all of us. Honestly, it’s really easy to work with him. I cannot ask for anything more.”
WHO WILL JOIN BAUTISTA AT DUCATI? “At the moment, nothing on the table…”
Bautista was one of the earliest riders to sign up for the 2024 grid when he signed a one-year contract to extend his stay with Ducati until the end of 2024 at the very least. However, his teammate for next season is currently unknown. Michael Ruben Rinaldi occupies the seat this season and has done since 2021, but several riders have expressed their interest in joining the factory Ducati team including Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team).
Talking about who will partner Bautista in 2024, Dall’Igna said: “We don’t know. I think that we are in the position that we can wait a little bit. We don’t have to find a solution because we don’t have a good solution at the moment. We are happy and, for sure, we can wait a little bit to understand what happens in reality. Maybe in the middle of the season, we can try to understand if we have to change something or not. At the moment, nothing on the table.”
HOME ROUND: looking for success on home soil
The next round for the WorldSBK field is the Emilia-Romagna Round at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” where Ducati will be looking to continue their success, with Bautista and Rinaldi both winning races there in the last couple of seasons. Discussing the upcoming round, Dall’Igna said: “Misano is another of our home races so, for sure, we would like to do well there with all the people that come only for Ducati and only for Alvaro. We have to prepare quite well for that round and now we are working on that because we tested at Misano with all the other teams in order to prepare for the round very well.”
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