Alvaro Bautista to Ducati WSBK officially confirmed
Melandri out – Bautista in
The official factory Ducati WSBK squad will part company with Marco Melandri for season 2019 and the Italian will be replaced by Spanish MotoGP exile Alvaro Bautista alongside present incumbent Chaz Davies.
Bautista, 33, will debut in the WorldSBK Championship after completing his 16th full-time season in the MotoGP Championship. Bautista is currently ride a satellite Ducati in MotoGP for Team Angel Nieto and has finished in top ten seven times from the 11 rounds held thus far this season, with a best of fifth at Sachsenring. But 2019 will be a new challenge for the Spaniard, who won the 125cc World Championship in 2006 for Aprilia, and was second in the 250cc Championship in 2008.
Davies, 31, is currently in his fifth season with the factory team, the last onboard the Panigale R ahead of the much-anticipated debut of the Panigale V4 on the world stage. The Welshman has so far collected 68 podiums with Ducati, taking 25 victories and finishing the season as runner-up twice.
The Qatar round, scheduled for October 25-27, will mark the end of Marco Melandri’s tenure with the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team. In two seasons with the squad, the Italian rider has took 19 podiums and three victories to date.