News 11 Aug 2023

WorldSBK leader Bautista to wildcard at Sepang MotoGP

To compete with Racing Ducati team at 2023 Malaysian GP.

Image: Supplied.

Defending Superbike world champion Alvaro Bautista will make a wildcard appearance later this year in MotoGP, set to compete at Sepang in November onboard a Ducati Desmosedici GP with the Racing team.

The announcement comes after Bautista completed two private tests onboard the Desmosedici at Misano, and for Ducati it will be the third wildcard of the 2023 season after participating at Mugello in May and the upcoming San Marino GP in Misano on 8-10 September with test rider Michele Pirro

“I’m really happy to be able to race in MotoGP as a wildcard 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,” said Bautista. “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 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.”

Bautista’s last MotoGP appearance came in 2018 at Valencia with the Angel Nieto Team onboard a Ducati, and his best result in the premier class at Sepang was P5 achieved in 2010 on a Suzuki and 2013 on a Honda.

He currently leads the WorldSBK standings by 74 points ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon), with his wildcard appearance at Sepang taking place on 10-12 November, two weeks after the final round of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship at Jerez.