We’re not even in the 5th round of the season, and the market is inflaming the Superbike. Tomorrow, at 3 pm, Alvaro Bautista will announce whether or not he’ll be hanging up his helmet at the end of the season, and this choice will weigh heavily on the 2024 SBK negotiations.
The fact is that the Bautista issue is Ducati Aruba’s priority because, in the event he decides to retire, the team led by Stefano Cecconi will have to look for a replacement.
If, on one hand, the future of the Spanish rider is holding court, on the other, there’s Michael Rinaldi who’s at the end of his contract. The situation will be defined during the summer months. Aruba is in no hurry to make decisions immediately, since it can dictate the timing of the market in the position it’s in, and considering that it has the most competitive bike in the garage.
Unfortunately, Michael’s start of the season wasn’t the greatest. After only four rounds, he’s 120 lengths away from his teammate. He really regrets it, especially due to the efforts he made during the winter, which distorted his working method with the intention of seeking greater competitiveness.
Michael’s future is still in the cards, and much will depend on him. If he ends the season in the first three places, his contract will probably be renewed, unless he decides to look elsewhere. Now that two events like Barcelona and Misano are coming up, where Michael has won in the past, the opportunity to recreate himself after a quiet start seems really enticing.
But, in all this, there are those who aspire at that official bike. We’re talking about Nicolò Bulega. Yes, you read that right. Should he win the SSP, the rider from Montecchio Emilia will land directly in the top class, and we’re convinced he’ll still get there regardless of the result, because a third year in the middle class wouldn’t make much sense.
In the SBK paddock, Bulega is experiencing a sort of relaunch. The credit goes to his manager, Alberto Martinelli. As we all know, Alberto manages Tony Cairoli and Sofia Goggia, and also Serafino Foti, who he decided to bet on with the Panigale V2.
Nicolò can’t wait to get into the Superbike, and his goal is to get there without having to go through a satellite team, but directly on the official team’s V4, the bike that Rinaldi wants to hold tight and that Axel Bassani – the best at this moment on a Ducati after Bautista in the Championship – is also aiming for.
The suitors are many, and it certainly won’t be easy to please them all. Actually, it’ll be practically impossible.