When Honda officially announced that they were saying goodbye to Alvaro Bautista, after two years of service, I had a feeling there’d be an announcement from the Aruba.it Racing Ducati Team very soon. And there was. Ducati’s press release, which landed in the 44teeth.com inbox 18 minutes after Honda’s, welcomed Bautista back into the fold.
With Redding heading to BMW, the seat that Bautista left at the end of 2019 has become available. And you’d have to say that, judging by his performance in 2019 compared to his recent form on the Fireblade, he’d have a better chance of WSBK victory on the Panigale. The fact is, in 2019 he was fighting for the championship. He took 24 podiums that year, with 16 victories. In the year and a half he’s had at Honda, he’s had one podium; a third at Aragon (2020).
Shinya Wakabayashi, Honda Racing Corporation President, had this to say of a departing Alvaro Bautista,
“At the end of 2021, our collaboration with Alvaro Bautista will draw to a close. The last two years have been intense, characterised by the unexpected and imposing challenges posed by the global pandemic and by the significant work involved in a fledgling project like ours. Two seasons in which the spirit has always been constructive and collaborative. We would therefore like to thank Alvaro and wish him the very best for the future.”
It seems as though, in WSBK trim, the Honda isn’t that competitive a package. We all know that the Ducati is. And we all know that Alvaro Bautista is a genuine world-class rider, capable of winning races.
At the moment Jonathan Rea isn’t having it all his own way in WSBK. Toprak Razgatlıoğlu is keeping him very honest on the Yamaha and Redding isn’t a bus-ride off them. The jury’s out as to whether Redding will be able to keep up his winning form on his new BMW in 2022; but when Bautista jumps back on his Ducati, I’ve got a feeling he’ll be one of the lads that, once again, keeps JR on his toes. I think he’ll win some races. I think he might even win the championship too.
What do you think?