Ducati confirms Nicolo Bulega in 2024 WorldSBK factory team

Nicolo Bulega will head to WorldSBK in 2024 with the factory Ducati team to partner current World Champion and points leader Alvaro Bautista.

Nicolo Bulega, 2023 Australian WorldSSP podium. - Ducati

Nicolo Bulega has signed for the Aruba.it Racing Ducati team to partner Alvaro Bautista in the 2024 World Superbike Championship.

Bulega is currently leading the Supersport World Championship by 46 points over his Italian compatriot Stefano Manzi, riding the Aruba.it Racing squad’s Panigale V2.

Throughout this year, in which Bulega has so far won nine WorldSSP races, the #11 has been testing Ducati Panigale V4 R machinery at Misano. Therefore, although Bulega’s confirmation in the factory Ducati WorldSBK team for 2024 has only now been officially confirmed, it's been expected that he will make the jump to the Superbike class next year with the Bologna brand for some time.

Nicolo Bulega said: "I want to be honest: this is a dream coming true. Racing for an official team is the desire of every rider. Therefore, before I talk about my emotions and expectations, I want to thank Ducati and Aruba.it Racing. And I am also extremely grateful for the opportunity I was given already last season by Aruba.it and Feel Racing and especially by Stefano Cecconi, Serafino Foti and Daniele Casolari. They chose me to ride a fantastic Ducati Panigale V2, on which I felt immediately comfortable.

“I know how important this opportunity is and I will always give my best to improve myself, day after day, with the only goal of getting the best possible results. I say it again: thank you for the trust. Thinking about the history of this Team, where great champions have always raced, I feel proud to be able to defend the same colours.”

Bulega will partner Alvaro Bautista in the Aruba.it Racing Ducati team next year. If Bulega is dominating in Supersport, then Bautista is demolishing the WorldSBK competition. “Also,” Bulega said, “I am very happy to be able to share the box with Alvaro Bautista. Having him as a teammate will be a big plus: I will try to absorb every information I can learn from him.”

Bautista announced at the Catalan round of WorldSBK earlier this year that he will be continuing for at least one more year after 2023 with Ducati. The reigning WorldSBK champion and current WorldSBK championship leader is currently 38, and will be 40 before the start of the 2025 season. With that in mind, it's a distinct possibility that he could retire at the end of 2024, meaning that Bulega’s own 2024 season will be extremely important for him to establish his position within the team.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who Bulega will replace next year and whose future remains unconfirmed, has been a decent ‘number two’ to Bautista, as he has not caused any friction with the Spaniard or caused incidents that could detract from his championship challenge. In 2024, Bulega will determine whether he will continue to be Rinaldi’s replacement in the years that follow, or Bautista’s.

Stefano Cecconi, Aruba.it Racing Ducati Team Principal, said: “Nicolò is a choice that makes us proud because it confirms the quality of the project we undertook two years ago in the Supersport World Championship. His growth has been steady and we expect him to continue on this path riding a Panigale V4 R, as he has proven he can be very fast with this bike during testing. 

“From the beginning, we have believed in the talent of Nicolò who, moreover, in this year and a half has shown great professionalism and attachment to the colours of the team.”

Luigi Dall'Igna, the Ducati Corse General Manager, announced over the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix weekend that Andrea Iannone will race for one of Ducati’s satellite teams in WorldSBK in 2024

About Bulega, though, Dall’Igna said: “We are pleased to welcome Nicolò Bulega to the official Superbike team. Since last season, Nicolò has been able to give us immense delight. He is a very talented rider, and his experience (despite his young age) could be a determining factor in facing this fascinating and demanding challenge. 

“During the test held with the Ducati Panigale V4 R machine, he has shown that he has the potential to compete with the best riders in the WorldSBK Championship, and sharing the garage with Alvaro Bautista will only help him grow.”

The 2023 World Superbike Championship continues this weekend (8-10 September), while MotoGP is in Misano for the San Marino Grand Prix, at the Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours for the French round.

Ducati DRE | Racetrack Academy Review at Silverstone

Ducati DRE | Racetrack Academy Review at Silverstone