FIRST LOOK: Ducati unveil new Panigale, Bautista chooses #1 Ducati officially unveil its 2023 WorldSBK livery as Alvaro Bautista chooses the #1 for his title defence.
Alvaro Bautista, Michael Ruben Rinaldi Ducati WorldSBK 2023
Alvaro Bautista, Michael Ruben Rinaldi Ducati WorldSBK 2023

Bautista and Michael Ruben Rinaldi will take part in their second WorldSBK season together as teammates, however, this time it will be aboard a brand new Panigale V4 R.

After winning his maiden WorldSBK title in 2022 - Ducati’s first since Carlos Checa in 2011 - Bautista is of course an immediate favourite to repeat as champion and achieve something Toprak Razgatlioglu could not after winning his first title the season before. 

However, much will depend on if the new bike is a step forward over the 2019 model that, through several years of upgrading and development, became the best bike on the grid last year. 

After missing out on the 2019 title despite winning the first 11 races, Bautista proved unbreakable throughout his title winning campaign.

Winner of 16 races, Bautista took victories at every round except Donington Park and Mandalika. 

Mistakes were far and few between as a fall during Race 1 at Donington Park was the only individual error Bautista made.

Both Bautista and Rinaldi won’t have long to wait until they get their hands on the new Panigale V4 R, as they are set to take part in this week’s two-day Jerez test. 

Also expected to be in action are all other Ducati riders, including Axel Bassani, second-year rider Phillip Oettl and rookie Danilo Petrucci.

Like Francesco Bagnaia who also elected for the #1 plate in MotoGP, Bautista will use the number after Razgatlioglu, Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes and Sylvain Guintoli all donned the #1 for their title defence. 

Alvaro Bautista Ducati WorldSBK 2023
Alvaro Bautista Ducati WorldSBK 2023

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