Bautista Set for MotoGP Wildcard Ride With Ducati at Sepang
Alvaro Bautista is leading the Championship in WorldSBK and will return to the MotoGP paddock for the first time in five years with a wild-card entry in the upcoming Malaysian MotoGP scheduled for November 10-12.
This is a press release from WorldSBK…
Defending World Champion and 2023 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) will take part in the Malaysian Grand Prix in MotoGP as a wildcard with the Aruba.it Racing Team. The round, set to take place from November 10-12, comes two weeks after the close of the 2023 WorldSBK season and is the third-to-last Grand Prix of the MotoGP year.
Bautista is enjoying a stunning title defense is WorldSBK this season; 18 wins—a new record for wins in a single season—21 podiums from 24 races, three pole positions and 74-point advantage in the Championship standings, the #1 really is in the best form of his career. Ducati’s success is also being mirrored in MotoGP; coming into the year as reigning World Champions with Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia, who is also donning the #1, Ducati have won seven out of nine GPs in 2023, along with seven of the new format Sprints.
A 1-2-3 in the current standings and with six out of the eight Ducati bikes inside the top ten, Bautista is undoubtedly stepping onto a competitive package. The Spaniard, who gets an early birthday treat as a wildcard one week before he turns 39, has enjoyed two tests on the GP23 machine and was impressive with his times, despite not setting a time attack run. For the second test, Bautista was key to testing 2024 parts for the Italian manufacturer.
Speaking about heading back to the MotoGP paddock to race for the first time since 2018, the multiple Grand Prix winner and MotoGP podium finisher said: “I’m really happy to be able to race in MotoGP as a wildcard at Sepang, a track that I really like and that I’m happy to be back at since it’s not on the WorldSBK calendar. The tests with the Ducati Desmosedici GP gave positive feedback: the feeling was good, and I had fun. I want to sincerely thank Ducati and Aruba.it because, without them, it would have been impossible to have this opportunity.
“At the same time, I would like to say that this MotoGP race will be a bonus for me and not a priority. That’s why we must stay focused on the WorldSBK Championship, which is the only thing that matters now. I want to stay focused for this last part of the season, which will be very demanding, with many races in a short time. The feeling with the Panigale V4R machine is good, and I hope to continue on this path. Then, when the season ends, we’ll think about going to Malaysia and having fun. Now I’ll have a little holiday, and then we’ll be back at Magny-Cours.”
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