“Maybe in the middle of the season” - Ducati in no rush to announce second rider

With Alvaro Bautista dominating the 2023 WorldSBK championship through four rounds, and already signed to another one-year deal for next season, chances of Ducati remaining very competitive are extremely high.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Axel Bassani Ducati WorldSBK Mandalika
Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Axel Bassani Ducati WorldSBK Mandalika

Bautista has been a winning machine since returning to Ducati last season, but when it comes to partnering the Spaniard at the Aruba.it Ducati team, questions remain unanswered.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi is the rider currently in the position of teammate to Bautista, and will be the favourite to retain his seat if he can deliver on the promise that has been shown at times.

The problem for Rinaldi is that consistency continues to be an issue, while Axel Bassani, who desperately wants to replace his fellow Italian, is ahead of him in the championship standings. 

Danilo Petrucci is another rider that could be in line for a switch to the factory team, however, the former MotoGP rider will need to build on his solid opening few rounds by regularly challenging for the podium in order for that to happen. 

In no rush to make a decision, Ducati Corse General Manager, Gigi Dall’Igna, says mid-season could be the timeframe for an announcement on their second rider. 

Dall’Igna told WorldSBK.com: "We don’t know. I think that we are in the position that we can wait a little bit. We don’t have to find a solution because we don’t have a good solution at the moment. 

"We are happy and, for sure, we can wait a little bit to understand what happens in reality. 

"Maybe in the middle of the season, we can try to understand if we have to change something or not. At the moment, nothing on the table."

While it remains to be seen who will partner Bautista, the reigning world champion will continue with the team for a third consecutive season in 2024, after the Italian manufacturer made it a priority to re-sign the 38-year-old.

Winner of 11 from 12 races so far this season, Dall’Igna also spoke about their number one rider and the joy that he’s bringing to Ducati.

"Every time that I see a race with Alvaro, he makes me happy," said Dall’Igna. "I cannot ask for anything better, honestly. 

"I’m really happy with his feeling with the bike, with his style of work because he works very well with all of us. Honestly, it’s really easy to work with him. I cannot ask for anything more."

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