Alvaro Bautista, Ducati team up again for 2022 WorldSBK season

Alvaro Bautista is confirmed to be returning to Ducati for the 2022 WorldSBK Championship season, replacing BMW-bound Scott Redding.

Alvaro Bautista - Team HRC Honda

Ducati has confirmed Alvaro Bautista will return to its WorldSBK Championship rider line-up for 2022, replacing Scott Redding.

After two years with Honda, Bautista heads back to the team that gave him his WorldSBK debut in 2019. He will be paired with Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who is in the midst of a two-year deal.

Bautista’s comeback will have both himself and Ducati dreaming of replicating his explosive arrival in the series two years ago, the Spaniard breaking all manner of records in a sensational run of 11 wins from his first 11 starts.

However, despite seeming to be the champion-elect at the mid-way point in the year, a startling slump in form - that coincided with a sharp rise of mistakes - meant he would go on to end the year a distant runner-up to Jonathan Rea with a total of 14 victories to his name.

Though Ducati wanted to retain him for the 2020 WorldSBK season, some eyebrows were raised when Bautista left for Honda and its reorganised full factory Team HRC effort, with Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali rather sharply suggesting he left simply for the money.

Either way, Bautista has spent two very sobering seasons on the CBR1000RR-R, which has struggled with the tempo of development and is now comfortably the slowest factory bike out there. In just under two years Bautista has collected a best finish and single podium of third.

He takes over from the man that replaced him at Ducati in 2020, Scott Redding,who has notched up 10 wins with the Italian firm since then but has been rather controversially ousted in favour of diminutive Bautista because - reportedly - of their significant different sizes.

Redding will switch to BMW Motorrad WorldSBK for next season.