Alvaro Bautista will bring his nine-season stay in the MotoGP class to an end in 2019 after announcing a deal to ride for Aruba.it Ducati’s new V4 Panigale in WorldSBK. The Spaniard has competed in the Grand Prix paddock for 16 years, taking 16 victories in 125cc and 250cc, as well as taking three premier class podiums, plus a pole position at this weekend’s venue Silverstone.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix, Bautista explained how his situation developed as the MotoGP rides were quickly taken up, and expressed his excitement ahead of a new chapter in his racing career alongside Chaz Davies.
“My idea was to remain in MotoGP but for sure this season has been very special because many people signed their deal for next year after two or three races. In the last four months I’ve had some problems with the bike so I couldn’t go as fast as I could in the past. When I started to feel good with the bike and show my potential, there were no more places on the MotoGP grid for next season.”
“I had some offers from Moto2 and WorldSBK”, he added. “I feel very motivated and I enjoy the bike a lot so for me, next season will be a new challenge with Aruba Ducati. I think the confidence Ducati have put in me is really good and I think we can do some good results there. The idea is to fight for the championshp. I will now try to enjoy my last races in MotoGP.”
With one of the last remaining seats for 2018 likely to be filled by 19-year-old Fabio Quartararo at the Petronas-backed Yamaha squad, Bautista also voiced his frustration at the quickness at which riders are being fast-tracked into the premier class.
“I remember many years ago, you moved into the next category after winning or challenging for the championship in the lower category. Now, for managers, if a rider does one or two good races, you are ready for the higher category. For me, that is not the common step you have to do but that is the situation.”