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SBK, Ducati crossroads: Bautista or Melandri for the last Panigale V4

Davies is reconfirmed on the factory team, Alvaro may debut in the production-derived series as his team-mate

SBK: Ducati crossroads: Bautista or Melandri for the last Panigale V4

Alvaro Bautista is one of the riders without a seat in MotoGP next season. The Spaniard, as well as having significant experience, has also proved in recent races that he is still fast but there seems to be no way forward for him in the reigning class. A more concrete option for next season would be a move to SBK, with negotiations in progress that would see him climb on the factory Ducati Aruba team's new Panigale V4.

Surely an appealing possibility for Alvaro, though he has some strong competition in the shape of Marco Melandri. Ducati is currently mapping out the future of its team in the production-derived series. After some to-ing and fro-ing in recent months, the agreement with Chaz Davies is practically complete and the British rider will continue to wear red, having entered the Borgo Panigale court in 2014.

The battle for the second bike continues though, Marco Melandri and Alvaro Bautista both worthy contenders. This is the Italian's second season with Ducati. In 2017 he scored many podiums but only one win, before starting this season with a double, which then gave way to a series of highs and lows. The Spaniard would be something of a gamble, having never raced in SBK, but he has good chances of success. In this sense, Alvaro appears to hold a slight advantage over Melandri.

If negotiations in SBK prove unsuccessful, another path Bautista might take would be that of Moto2, another category in which he has never competed. He would certainly have offers, including that of MV Agusta that would gain a strong test rider for the development of its new bike as well as a fast racer.

Ducati intends to finalise its plans by the end of August, so we'll soon know whether the choice is Bautista or Melandri.

Translated by Heather Watson

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