Alvaro Bautista will replace the injured Jorge Lorenzo at the factory Ducati team during next weekend's Australian MotoGP.

Bautista, who currently rides for the satellite Angel Nieto squad, will thus swap his usual GP17 for Lorenzo's GP18 at Phillip Island.

“I want to thank Ángel Nieto Team, Jorge Martínez "Aspar" and everyone else for letting me ride for the factory team in Australia. I also want to thank Ducati for the opportunity to work with them. It will be a weekend in which I will try to learn as much as possible and work as best I can, with no objective in mind. It is exciting to be able to compete with a factory team, and to do it with Ducati is a dream come true," said Bautista, who will be an official Ducati World Superbike rider in 2019.

After a slow start to the year, Bautista is twelfth in the world championship, matching his best finish of the season with fifth in Sunday's Motegi race. The Spaniard has previously raced as a full-time factory rider for Suzuki and Aprilia, although his best MotoGP results (two podiums and a pole) were with Gresini Honda.

Ducati's replacement options seemed to be complicated by a recent rule change that prevents a current MotoGP rider being called up as a substitute by another team  without permission from the Grand Prix Commision.

Assuming permission was granted for Bautista, the likes of Pramac's Jack Miller (the only Australian on the grid) and Danilo Petrucci (replacing Lorenzo next season) might wonder why they were not given the Phillip Island chance...

Meanwhile, the Angel Nieto team is yet to confirm Bautista's replacement for next weekend.

After suffering a wrist fracture due to a technical problem in Thailand, Lorenzo abandoned a planned return in Japan when the injury was found to be worse than expected.

The triple MotoGP champion will now return to Europe for more medical checks, with the aim of being back on track for the Malaysian Grand Prix from November 2-4, which is due to be his penultimate Ducati appearance before joining Repsol Honda.

Comments

Loading Comments...