Honda has confirmed Alvaro Bautista will join its official factory team for the 2020 World Superbike championship, having already been dropped from the factory Ducati squad after one season.

The Spaniard switched to WorldSBK from MotoGP at the start of this season with the Racing Ducati squad and initially dominated the championship by winning all of the opening 11 races.

But since that run Bautista has picked up his four wins in 17 races to drop out of title contention against Jonathan Rea who holds a 91-point lead with three rounds remaining.

After the factory Ducati squad announced it had signed Scott Redding alongside Chaz Davies for 2020, Bautista remained tight-lipped on his own future despite strong rumours linking him to Honda.

The Japanese manufacturer has duly confirmed the former 125cc world champion will join its new factory squad for 2020.

“We are very happy to welcome Alvaro Bautista to our WSBK racing project for next year,” Yoshishige Nomura, HRC President, said. “His arrival in the Honda racing family underlines our strong commitment to compete at full force in every motorsport category, fighting to achieve top sporting results and looking for the best technological innovations, in order to offer our fans and customers fun, joy and excellent products.

“Alvaro is a very fast, experienced rider who has already shown his strong racing attitude and competitiveness in his GP years and in his first season in the WSBK Championship.

“We are confident that he will make a significant contribution to the growth and development of our project in the exciting and challenging Superbike World Championship.”

Honda is expected to launch a new Superbike in preparation for the 2020 campaign, while its second factory rider will be announced in the coming weeks.