The saga of summer 2019, going on since Misano, regards Alvaro Bautista's contract renewal with Ducati. Yes, because at the Italian event, the Borgo Panigale team had offered the Spaniard a new contract until 2021.
Having evaluated it carefully, #19 decided to turn down the offer, also due to the fact that on the other side there is a Honda to tempt him. The new Fireblade project, HRC returning to the series with the aim of winning the title at its first attempt, an increase in salary... Basically many factors that could attract the Spaniard, who has even found the time to take a look at the Japanese project.
This hasn't gone down well with Ducati of course, a little like going out on a date with a beautiful girl, but keeping another on stand-by until the last minute because she interests you.
It's a pity that, thing having reached this point, the second girl may well get the better of the first, in this case Honda over Ducati. Bautista has decided and it's looking unlikely he'll sign for Ducati, the deadline set for mid-August. With what looks like an inevitable move to HRC for the Spaniard, the Borgo Panigale team needs to find an alternative. But who? Unfortunately there are no top riders available and, if that wasn't enough, things are already done in MotoGP, so hiring someone from that paddock looks impossible, unless something drastic changes.
In reality, there is one rider still without a 2020 contract: Jack Miller, but it's unlikely the Australian would accept an offer that is, to all effect, a step backwards.
Let's look at the possibilities then.... Scott Redding, currently riding the V4 in BSB. The Brit knows the bike well and that's definitely a plus, but he'd also have to get to grips with what is actually quite a different bike to that used in the British series, especially for its electronics.
Then there is Eugene Laverty, who looks to be in Kawasaki's sights for 2012. Eugene currently rides for GoEleven, the satellite team, but a move to the official bike looks rather complicated.
Another idea would be Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, but Ducati doesn't appear to have mentioned him.
Then there are those who'd like to see an Italian alongside Davies.Last year, Michele Pirro asked Dall’Igna if he could compete for team Aruba with the V4, but the engineer said no, considering his role as MotoGP test rider.
Among the Ducati riders, there is also Michael Rinaldi, a young talent who has grown with Barni, but this also looks unlikely. If we're talking home-grown, also a rider like Lorenzo Savadori, who was shut out of the SBK paddock after leaving Aprilia. A touch of Italian would be good, in a championship that is set to lose a certain Marco Melandri at the end of the year. We just hope it doesn't become the classic midsummer nights dream...