Former WorldSBK champion Carlos Checa believes Axel Bassani could be next to join the factory Racing Ducati team. 

Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati), Alvaro Bautista and Michael Rinaldi ( Racing Ducati) are currently all signed to one-year deals that expire following the 2022 season, which therefore puts the Italian in the window to potentially move up to the top team.

The 22 year-old was one of the more impressive rookies the series has seen for many years in 2021, and had it not been for Andrea Locatelli’s stunning first season for Pata Yamaha, then Bassani would have convincingly taken top rookie honours.

12 top ten results from the final 13 races including a brilliant second place in Catalunya was already ‘enough’ to garner the factory team’s interest according to Checa, who believes a move to replace either Bautista or Rinaldi is possible should Bassani go another ‘step further’ in his development. 

Equally, should Bautista or Rinaldi not perform as the team expects then that would give Bassani an added chance of joining the team.

While talking about Bassani possibly being a contender for wins, Checa also highlighted BMW as a team to watch this upcoming season after the German manufacturer paired 2020 runner-up Scott Redding with Michael Van Der Mark. 

"Well, the BMW has great power and now with Scott Redding and Michael van der Mark, the team has a very fast and young duo," Checa told "From the outset, I would put them in the best position, just like Axel Bassani, who had a great season as a rookie. 

"I think that this year he’ll try to go one step further and gain the confidence to make it to the factory Ducati team, which is what’s on his mind. 

"Last year, he did enough to be there, let's see if Ducati gives him the necessary support. I think the ones I have named are the ones who are going to be at the front, but if there is any surprise, either from a brand or with other riders, it’s welcome!” 

"The level of Rea and Toprak is the highest. Sporadically, there were other riders who were ahead, like Redding, van der Mark or Locatelli, which surprised me a lot, but not with the consistency that the two of them had. 

"I hope that Alvaro Bautista can be in that fight. I think Locatelli can grow alongside Toprak in the Yamaha garage."