Alvaro Bautista will make a much-anticipated return to Ducati in 2022 as he aims to win the Italian manufacturer’s first WorldSBK title since 2011. 

Winner of 16 races in his one and only season aboard a Panigale V4 R thus far, Bautista re-joins the team after two difficult years with Honda. 

Bautista’s 2019 season with Ducati was in fact so good that he matched his overall podium tally at Honda in just the first three races of that season, three podiums that were all wins as he won the opening 11 races. 

With the team’s main title contender over the last two seasons Scott Redding leaving for BMW, and Michael Rinaldi falling short of what was expected, Bautista will undeniably start the season as the team’s best hope of winning a title.

But to accomplish that Bautista will need to beat both Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea who are arguably in their prime, so while a championship win might be slightly too much to ask, the former MotoGP rider believes he has a bike without ‘weak points’, and crucially one that’s better than in 2019. 

Bautista has only had one outing on his new bike which came at Jerez following the 2021 season finale, but that hasn’t stopped the 37 year-old from identifying where the bike has improved.

Speaking to Speedweek.com, Bautista said: "I think that the bike is more balanced today. Two years ago the bike had very positive characteristics, but also very negative ones. 

"The thing now is that the advantages have been retained and the disadvantages have been improved. 

"The motorcycle is now easier to drive and no longer has any weak points. The basis from two years ago has been improved."