2011 WorldSBK champion for Ducati, Carlos Checa believes Alvaro Bautista can become the next Ducati rider to win a world title should he rediscover the form demonstrated in 2019. 

Bautista, who returns to Ducati for 2022, spent just one season with the Aruba.it Racing Ducati team, however, it was a campaign that saw him win 16 races which is the most for any championship runner-up. 

The Spaniard had 11 wins from 11 races to start the year and looked on course to dominate the entire season, that was before several crashes and a loss in confidence began to settle in. 

With Ducati arguably having the best package on the grid in 2021, the former MotoGP and Superbike rider believes it’s down to the riders not the bike to produce the goods.

Alongside Bautista is Michael Rinaldi who hasn’t been able to match the level of current world champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, nor that of six-time series winner Jonathan Rea on a consistent basis, which is why Checa has more faith in his fellow Spaniard as it stands.

Speaking to WorldSBK.com, Checa added: "Let's see if, with the partnership formed by Bautista and Rinaldi, they’ve found the winning combination. I think that now the championship is at a very high level and every little detail counts a lot. 

"There are many things that make a rider a championship contender. Rea and Kawasaki have been invested there for years; the same for Yamaha with Toprak, but also before. Ducati have also been working with the bike for many years. 

"Now they have a very competitive bike, very balanced and complete. I wish I was ten years younger so I could use it! There are other important aspects that we must see how they combine, to know if Alvaro or Rinaldi can achieve it.

"I defined Ducati with a phrase: 'Everything is possible, but nothing is certain'. Now I would say it in the sense that Rinaldi perhaps should have taken one more step last year, I don't know if he will take it this year, he still has to take two... and Alvaro is obviously an unknown quantity. 

"If he finds the feeling that he had at the beginning of the 2019 season and can maintain it, he can have options. I would bet more on Alvaro, because he has already won many races and led the Championship, whilst Rinaldi’s been very fast in a timely manner, but not constantly. 

"Looking at the results of 2021, the level is set by both Toprak and Rea, but I would say that Alvaro has had that level, and that it’s easier to recover it than to reach it."

Bautista and Rinaldi will both begin their 2022 pre-season testing in five days time at Portimao, while Yamaha, Kawasaki and BMW will also be in action at the Algarve International Circuit.