Ducati chooses Michael Ruben Rinaldi over Axel Bassani for 2023 WorldSBK

Ducati stays loyal to Michael Ruben Rinaldi with an extended stay in the factory Aruba.it squad for the 2023 WorldSBK season alongside Alvaro Bautista

Michael Ruben Rinaldi - Aruba.it Ducati, 2022 WorldSBK

Michael Ruben Rinaldi will remain in the Aruba.it Ducati team for the 2023 WorldSBK Championship after getting the nod over Axel Bassani for the coveted factory seat.

The 26-year old - a long-time Ducati protege - will form an unchanged rider line-up for the Italian squad alongside current championship leader Alvaro Bautista.

The deal assures a stay of execution for Rinaldi, who joined the works squad in 2021 after being controversially chosen over Chaz Davies for the seat.

Indeed, this time it was Rinaldi facing pressure for his ride from a privateer in Bassani, the young Italian having produced a series of impressive performances with the minnow Motocorsa Ducati squad that have matched his countryman. 

However, despite also being comprehensively out-performed by Bautista and having only three podiums to his name this season - compared with the three wins he achieved en route to fourth overall last year - Rinaldi will remain in factory red for another year.

"I am very happy to race again next year for Aruba.it Racing - Ducati because I firmly believe in this project. I am very confident that in 2023 we can reap everything we have sown together with the team. I will be the first to work even harder, both in training and on track, to get better results and have the consistency that has been lacking so far. 

“I want to thank Stefano Cecconi, Claudio Domenicali, Luigi Dall'Igna, Paolo Ciabatti, Serafino Foti, and all the people who trusted in me. I can't wait to be in Barcelona to get a good result and repay this confidence. And I am sure that 2023 will be a great year for us." 

With the last vacancy among the factory WorldSBK teams now filled, Bassani is expected to embark on a third year with Motocorsa Ducati.

An unknown when he made his series debut in 2021 with the Italian team - itself only in its second world championship campaign - Bassani emerged as a revelation, scoring 21 top ten results in his maiden season, including a first podium in Barcelona.

It is form he has carried through to 2022 despite the team’s tiny budget relative to the factory squad. He is currently sixth in the standings after a double podium haul last time out at Magny-Cours.