Welcome to the beta version of the new Women & Golf website. Our web monkeys are still hard at work and welcome your feedback.  


Ducati nearing decision on Bulega for 2024 WorldSBK, 'deserves it' says Bautista

Gold & Goose
Nicolo Bulega, Aruba.it Ducati, Ducati Panigale V2, 2023 WorldSSP, Most, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Ducati has confirmed when it will announce the identity of which rider will be team-mate to Alvaro Bautista’s in the title-winning Aruba.it Ducati team for the 2024 WorldSBK season.

The Italian manufacturer has been mulling over who will get the chance to ride the Ducati Panigale V4 R that is largely dominating in the hands of 2022 WorldSBK Champion Bautista.

It’s a decision it will communicate in September when action resumes after the summer break for Round 9 at Magny-Cours.


>>> 2023 WorldSBK Championship Standings <<<

However, while it has been mulling a number of potential candidates - including incumbent Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Axel Bassani and Fabio di Giannantonio - it is expected to settle on its WorldSSP Championship leading protege Nicolo Bulega for a promotion.

A former member of Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Rider Academy, Bulega has emerged as the star of the intermediate class during his second season in the series riding the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale V2, scoring nine wins from the 16 races so far.

They are results that Bautista himself thinks deserve the reward of a promotion straight into a coveted factory Ducati ride.

“I read the rumours; I think Bulega is a nice rider and he’s very fast, doing well in WorldSSP,” he said.. 

“For sure, he wants to go to WorldSBK next year but I don’t know where or with which team. He deserves an opportunity to come to WorldSBK and show his potential.”

Nicolo Bulega, Aruba.it Ducati, Ducati Panigale V2, 2023 WorldSSP, Most, action [credit - Gold & Goose]
Why have V2 when you could have V2?


It’s a view not entirely shared - perhaps unsurprisingly - by the man he is in line to replace, with Rinaldi reckoning it would be a risk to entrust such a prestigious seat to a rookie.

“I think that on Ducati’s side, it can be a move that is normal and for sure, I wouldn’t be upset. It’s normal that a young guy like Nicolo deserves a chance.

“I think that for him, it could be risky to go straight to a factory seat but if I was in his shoes, I’d do it because who says no to a factory team?”

Assuming Bulega is announced alongside Bautista then Rinaldi does have some potential options with rival manufacturers for next season. While Kawasaki has confirmed its line-up, Yamaha have a top line seat available alongside Andrea Locatelli in the factory Crescent Racing Pata team, while he has also been linked to a Honda move too.

Having always raced with Ducati since his debut in 2018, Rinaldi might also have options within stable at a team such as Go Eleven. He would also be a likely target for Barni and Motocorsa should they expand to a two-bike line-up as has been rumoured.

Articles you may like


More WorldSBK

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram