Alvaro Bautista Leaves Suzuki To Join Gresini Honda For 2012

As predicted over the past few days, Alvaro Bautista has finally signed with the San Carlo Gresini Honda team for the 2012 season. The Spaniard had been holding on for news from Suzuki, but with no confirmation of the factory's involvement for 2012, Bautista's patience was tested to its limits and he had to make a decision.

Bautista will now ride a Honda RC213V for the Gresini team in 2012. Though HRC's Shuhei Nakamoto is said to regard Bautista very highly, it is unlikely that Bautista will receive the same support that Marco Simoncelli was destined to in 2012. The satellite teams will start the year very close to the factory spec bikes, but will not receive the updates as fast as the factory bikes.

With Bautista signed, that leaves just two gaps still to be filled on the factory prototype bikes for 2012. Suzuki's participation in MotoGP is still uncertain - though a decision should be taken by the end of this week - and the LCR Honda is yet to be officially filled. Given the outstanding showing that Stefan Bradl has put on in his two days on the 2011 800cc bike at the Valencia test, there is every reason to believe that Bradl will be racing for LCR Honda in 2012.

Below are the official press releases, first from Suzuki announcing Bautista's departure, and then from Gresini announcing his signing:

Rizla Suzuki and Bautista part for 2012

Publish Date: Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Rizla Suzuki regretfully announces the departure from the team of current rider Álvaro Bautista

Bautista joined Suzuki for the start of the 2010 season, making his racing debut at Qatar. He has been a popular rider with the team as well as establishing himself as a firm favourite with the fans due to his racing spirit and infectious smile. During his two seasons with Suzuki he has recorded top five finishes and put his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R on the front row of the grid. Bautista has been the solo rider in the team in 2011 and has been an asset in the improvements to the bike and the huge potential it is now showing.

Suzuki Motor Corporation, all members of the MotoGP team, title sponsor Rizla and the team's other sponsors and partners would like to wish Bautista well in his future career and every success and happiness in his personal life, and everyone in the Rizla Suzuki squad would like to thank him for the two years of hard work, loyalty and commitment that he has given the team.

Álvaro Bautista:

"I am very sad to be leaving Suzuki after the two great years that I have had here. It has been a great team to work in and I have learnt a lot of things from everyone in the team. It was a fantastic experience working with an English/Japanese team and we have become like a big family, except we have never had any arguments and no-one falls out with each other! I want to thank everybody personally for the last two years, sometimes it has been difficult, but nobody ever gave up and I felt like I always had their full support and commitment. I don't feel like I am leaving a team, but a group of friends that I hope I will know for a long time. I want to say a special thank-you to Tom, Paul, Ken san and Sahara san, and wish them and the rest of the team all the best for the future."


An agreement has been reached between Alvaro Bautista and Fausto Gresini for the Spaniard to ride a Honda RC213V with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini in 2012. Thanks to the co-operation of Suzuki, Bautista gets his first chance to ride the bike ridden this year by Hiroshi Aoyama at Valencia today.

Fausto Gresini "I am particularly satisfied that Alvaro Bautista will ride a Honda RC213V in the colours of Team San Carlo Honda Gresini next year. He is a very fast rider and I also hold him in high regard for his personality and pleasant nature. I am sure that he will integrate swiftly into our group and that we will enjoy some pleasant experiences together in the future."

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Craziest season as far signings go in years. This is always done prior to the end of the season and there are still seats to be filled yet!

Kudos to Alvaro. Suzuki is going no where.

RdP was impressive yesterday on the Suzuki. It shows two things: The Suzuki isn't that far off the other bikes, and RdP is a talented rider and deserves a ride in MotoGP. Hopper needs to also be back. I've always liked the Rizla Suzuki livery and think it is one of the best looking in the paddock. It'd be great to have RdP and Hopper on a team together.

All this talk of having Bradl in MotoGP because he's German, but it looks like they are not stressing RdP (only French rider). Bradl should make a good transition to MotoGP.

Any talk of the other Gresini bike?

Ill dont get it the idea than bautista will ride for gresini, in what terms they reach for let him enter to the team, and why the team dont look instead on de angelis or iannone, both guys Iannone and de angelis deserves a chance in the leader class.

De Angelis did ride for gresini for a couple years (at least one year) and was pretty crashtastic (divebombing riders into turn one, in particular)

Calling De Angelis 'crashtastic' is selling him short. He had some impressive rides on the gresini, including a handful of 4th places and a podium. In a perfect world the De Angelis', Toseland's, and Aoyama's would be given more time in MotoGP.

On a side note, in a more perfect world Toni Elias would be allowed to at least search for another tire manufacturer willing to make tires that suit him. This is the MotoGP world championship, not the 'how well can you adapt to specific tires Bridgestone feels like making' championship.

This is the way it is in the dog eat dog world of reality. Elias is of Dovi, Pedrosa proportions. They can make the Honda work. Yes a shame for Elias he couldn't adapt his extreme arse off style, but I'd well imagine deep down he knows the issue lay at his own feet.

Just look at the two lead HRC riders now. Both saying they need to adapt to the machine and figure out an improved technique that works best for the thousands.

DeAngelis a very fine second at Mugello on a satellite bike. No mean feat. But Moto2 flashes aren't going to bring him back. He, and any Moto2 rider for that matter, needs a proper all year title tilt to be considered for top table duty (outside of CRT's).

This is almost poetic. Bautista was the last rider to engage in a big battle with Marco, swapping positions with him multiple times just before the crash. I'm really happy for him. He has been loyal to Suzuki, given them every chance to keep him and is obviously a thoroughly decent young bloke. He was also clearly much more capable than the bike, doing a job of reminiscent of Stoner at Ducati in putting the Suzuki where you wouldn't have expected it to be. I can't see how anyone can argue that anyone else deserved the ride more.

Looking forward to seeing him on the 1000.