In a coordinated announcement with the MotoGP press conference, Alvaro Bautista and the Aruba.it Ducati Team today officially announced that the Spaniard will be joining Chaz Davies in the Aruba.it Ducati team in World Superbikes in 2019. Bautista and Davies are to race the Ducati Panigale V4 next year, when the bike makes its debut in the WorldSBK class.
Bautista's signing leaves Marco Melandri out of a seat at the moment. The Italian veteran is strongly linked to a return to Yamaha, this time with the GRT team, who are rumored to be moving up to the WorldSBK class from World Supersport for 2019.
The press release from Aruba.it appears below:
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team on track in the 2019 WorldSBK Championship with Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team finalized its riders' lineup for the 2019 WorldSBK Championship, extending its collaboration with Chaz Davies and enlisting Alvaro Bautista.
Davies, 31, is currently in his fifth season with the factory team, the last onboard the Panigale R ahead of the much-anticipated debut of the Panigale V4 on the world stage. The Welshman has so far collected 68 podiums with Ducati, taking 25 victories and finishing the season as runner-up twice.
Bautista, 33, will debut in the WorldSBK Championship after completing his 16th full-time season in the MotoGP Championship. A new and exciting challenge for the Spaniard, currently competing in the top class onboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP of the Angel Nieto Team. Bautista has seized 49 podiums to date in MotoGP, including 16 wins, and conquered the 125-cc class world title in 2006.
The Qatar round, scheduled for October 25-27, will therefore mark the end of Marco Melandri's tenure with the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team. In two seasons with the squad, the Italian rider has always shown his professionalism and talent, taking 19 podiums and three victories to date. Ducati and Aruba.it will keep striving to allow Marco to achieve the best possible results until the end of the year and wish to thank him for all his efforts.