Alvaro Bautista will make a sensational return to Ducati for the 2022 WorldSBK campaign alongside Michael Rinaldi. 

The Spanish rider will replace current championship contender Scott Redding who recently signed with Motorrad BMW WorldSBK. 

Bautista's one and only season in World Superbike with Ducati (2019) was the Italian manufacturers most successful since claiming the world championship with Carlos Checa.

And while the second half of 2019 didn’t bring with it a championship win that looked almost inevitable after 14 races, the Panigale V4 R’ strengths remain similar to when Bautista was there, making him an obvious choice for the team.

The Spanish rider will leave Honda after a two-year spell alongside Leon Haslam - the Brit’s future within the Japanese manufacturer is also in question. 

A return to BSB with Kawasaki has been muted for Haslam, while potential options for Honda going forward include big names such as Tom Sykes (lost BMW ride to Redding), and Chaz Davies. 

Crashes and technical issues have largely plagued the development and subsequent success of the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade, something that’s been especially apparent in 2021.  

Honda are currently bottom of the constructors championship - 57 points down on BMW, while Bautista is only 11th in the rider’s standings. 

There has however been limited success for Bautista at Team HRC in the form of a podium during race two at MotorLand Aragon last year, however, similar results have been hard to come by since, as Bautista has just one top five finish this season.