Aruba.it Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista will be racing as a wildcard in the MotoGP Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang, as has been widely speculated over the past few weeks.
Alvaro Bautista who is the reigning WorldSBK champion, is set to race in the much-discussed MotoGP wild-card race in Sepang, Ducati Corse has confirmed.
Bautista will make his way into the Malaysian Grand Prix grid midway through November during the 18th MotoGP round. This comes as the WorldSBK final round will be held in Jerez just two weeks following his wildcard appearance.
The reigning WorldSBK champion will ride under Aruba.it Racing team and will use the Aruba.it livery during the Sepang race weekend.
It will be Bautista’s first MotoGP race after exiting the top division at the end of the 2018 campaign to make the official crossover to WorldSBK with the factory Ducati squad.
Bautista successfully completed two tests piloting the Ducati Desmosedici GP bike at Misano.
“I’m really happy to be able to race in MotoGP as a Wild Card at Sepang, a track that I really like and that I’m happy to be back at since it’s not on the WorldSBK calendar,” Bautista said.
“The tests with the Ducati Desmosedici GP gave positive feedback: the feeling was good, and I had fun. I want to sincerely thank Ducati and Aruba.it because, without them, it would have been impossible to have this opportunity.
“At the same time, I would like to say that this MotoGP race will be a bonus for me and not a priority. That’s why we must stay focused on the WorldSBK Championship, which is the only thing that matters now.
“I want to stay focused for this last part of the season, which will be very demanding, with many races in a short time. The feeling with the Panigale V4R machine is good, and I hope to continue on this path.
“Then, when the season ends, we’ll think about going to Malaysia and having fun. Now I’ll have a little holiday, and then we’ll be back at Magny-Cours.”
The MotoGP wildcard appearance was initially announced in May when it was confirmed that his WorldSBK contract would be extended, and it was given as reward for Ducati winning its first championship in the production-based championship in 11 years.
Ducati is going to utilize its third wildcard appearance of the year after test rider Michele Pirro was previously in action at Mugello. Pirro will once again return to the paddock for the San Marino Grand Prix as a wildcard.
In WorldSBK, Bautista has had an amazing season, leading the Championship and aiming for back-to-back victories. The gap between the reigning WorldSBK Champion and Toprak Razgatlioglu is 74 points.
Aruba.It is now six points behind the PATA Yamaha team in second place in the team standings. Bautista signed a one-year contract extension after winning 18 races for the Aruba.it team so far this year.