Bassani, who secured his second top five finish of the season during race one at Donington Park, is one of three riders in contention to be team-mate to WorldSBK series leader Alvaro Bautista in 2023. 

Bassani, current Ducati rider Rinaldi and MotoAmerica’s Danilo Petrucci are thought to be the three riders battling it out. 

While Bassani’s P5 result was an impressive showing, it came as a result of Bautista crashing out of second place, while Rinaldi suffered with two separate bike-related problems that cost him around half a second in performance. 

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But in a year where finishing as the top Ducati rider for anyone other than Bautista has proved extremely difficult, Bassani won’t complain how he achieves it.

Bassani said: "No podium but we are the first Ducati, so this for my team, this is like a podium! Especially this year, it’s not easy to finish as top Ducati as Bautista is so fast but with the result we arrived! We made a good step with the bike and the team, and I feel good on the bike now; I had the possibility to push when I wanted which is good for me!" 

‘Very important for me to beat Michael’, says second-year WorldSBK rider Bassani 

On identical Panigale V4 R machinery, the only exception being Rinaldi has full factory support, Bassani’s results will go a long way in determining whether he gets a chance to move up or not, as is the case for Rinaldi who has been in good form since rumours of his future with the team surfaced. 

"It’s very important for me to beat Michael; he’s an Italian rider and we have the same bike," said Bassani. "I want to beat him every race, sometimes it’s difficult but when we’re OK with the setup and I’m feeling good, we can do it."

Shots fired from Rinaldi…

As the two Italians get set for World Ducati Week which involves a competitive race between 21 riders from MotoGP, WorldSBK and WorldSSP this Saturday, Rinaldi’s response to Bassani claiming he wants to ‘beat him in every race’ was emphatic. 

"It’s normal that his target is to be in front of me, because I’m on the factory bike. I will not complain about what he says," added Rinaldi. 

"We know he is a fast, young rider. I think that when I’m in good shape with the bike, my goal is to stay with Jonny [Rea], Alvaro and Toprak [Razgatlioglu], and not with an Independent rider. When I’m in that position it’s because I’m really struggling and he’s in the best shape."