Aruba.it Racing Ducati have officially unveiled its 2022 WorldSBK colours for riders Alvaro Bautista and Michael Rinaldi.
Aboard a revised, but not brand new Panigale V4-R machine, Bautista and Rinaldi will be looking to bring the Italian manufacturer its first WorldSBK title since Carlos Checa did so in 2011.
Bautista, who returns to the team following a stunning season in 2019 - claimed 16 wins as a rookie, 11 of which came in succession to begin the season - showed impressive pace during the team’s lone pre-season test at Portimao last month.
Both Bautista and Rinaldi will be back in action during this week’s two-day Misano WorldSBK test which begins on Wednesday.
Speaking at the team’s presentation, Bautista said: "I am very happy to be back in this fantastic team, with Aruba.it and Ducati. It feels like a real family to me and finding basically the team I worked with in 2019 has been of great importance.
"My feelings with the Panigale V4R were immediately very positive: I think the bike is even more balanced than the one I left.
"With such a competitive team and machine, obviously the goal is to fight for the title.
"I have more experience, I know the tyres and the format of the competition better, but it will still be crucial to learn from the mistakes of three years ago. Winter tests got me very excited and I can’t wait to get on track at Aragon."
For team-mate Rinaldi, the Italian has not been able to match Bautista’s performance in testing after suffering from back problems due to a nasty crash at the 2021 season finale in Mandalika.
A three-time winner in 2021 - four-time WorldSBK race winner overall - 2022 is likely to be a crucial season for Rinaldi after being convincingly beaten by new BMW rider Scott Redding last year.
The Italian acknowledged as much by saying his 'future' with Ducati 'could also depend on this season'.
"The 2022 championship is about to start: it will be my second season with the official team even though I have been part of the Aruba.it family for many years now," said Rinaldi.
"This is why the time has come to reap the benefits we have sown so far. It will not be easy because the competition is very fierce but I believe that these years together can be a solid base to create something good.
"It will be a very important championship both for me and for the team and my future career could also depend on this season.
"I will certainly give my best and with the help of the team I am sure we can achieve important results.
"I’m very happy and I want to thank Aruba.it, Ducati and all the sponsors who have allowed me to take on this fascinating challenge."