33-year old Spaniard will leave MotoGP paddock after 16 years at the end of the season to join Ducati factory team on a new Panigale V4 to spearhead their title challenge in World Superbikes alongside Chaz Davies.
One of the worst kept secrets was revealed yesterday in Silverstone at usual Thursday’s press conference, with Alvaro Bautista confirming that he is moving to World Superbike paddock after agreeing one year deal with Aruba.it Ducati factory squad, where he will replace Italian Marco Melandri, while his future team mate Chaz Davies agreed to sign 2-year extension, staying with the team until 2020 as both riders will use Ducati’s brand new Panigale V4, which is expected to debut in full race trim version at the end of November at the test in Jerez. This move will bring an end to successful and very versatile career Alvaro had in MotoGP paddock, having scored 16 wins and 49 podiums in 267 races done in his career so far.
Where does this move leaves Marco Melandri, who was taken by surprise after learning that decision and had expressed his unhappiness with how Ducati has dealt with the situation, is unknown at this time, but he is attracting interest from various teams in World Superbike paddock, with rumours connecting him to GRT Yamaha seat, since is expected that World Supersport front runners will make a step to World Superbike class next season, while potential move to US based MotoAmerica championship could be one of his options as well.
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