Suzuki has officially confirmed that, as rumoured, it has signed Alvaro Bautista to race in MotoGP for the next two seasons.
Bautista, currently fighting for the final 250cc title before the support class changes to Moto2, had been offered the chance to graduate with his present Aspar team - which will field a one-rider Ducati entry in MotoGP next year - but has chosen a full factory GSV-R instead.
Suzuki is the only team which is able to sign rookie riders, since it does not have a satellite outfit, but the team has taken only one race win since the start of the four-stroke era in 2002.
Bautista, the 2006 125cc world champion, has won eight 250cc grands prix since stepping up to the quarter-litre class in 2007. The Spaniard is presently just 12 points behind title leader Hiroshi Aoyama with six rounds to go.
The #19 is expected to partner MotoGP veteran Loris Capirossi
at Suzuki next season, meaning no seat for Chris Vermeulen
- the only rider to win a race on the GSV-R.
Bautista's deal means he joins Valentino Rossi
(Fiat Yamaha), Casey Stoner
(Ducati Marlboro), Marco Simoncelli (Gresini Honda) and Marco Melandri
(Gresini Honda) on the 2010 MotoGP grid.
Honda claims it has reached a 'basic agreement' to keep Dani Pedrosa
and Andrea Dovizioso
at its factory team for the next two seasons, but contracts have not yet been signed.
Aspar meanwhile now looks set to sign another Spanish 250cc star, Hector Barbera, for its MotoGP project.