Bautista set to join Gresini

Wed, 09 Nov 10:25:11 2011

Alvaro Bautista looks set to join Gresini for 2012 as uncertainty continues to surround Suzuki's future participation in the MotoGP class.

The team has confirmed that the 26-year-old Spaniard has left the factory squad, having run Randy de Puniet in the post-season test at Valencia this week.

Bautista has endured mixed fortunes since graduating to the top class with Suzuki in 2010 and has been blighted by injuries over the past two years that have hindered consistent development for him and the team.

"I am very sad to be leaving Suzuki after the two great years that I have had here," Baustista said in a statement. "It has been a great team to work in and I have learnt a lot of things from everyone in the team.

"It was a fantastic experience working with an English/Japanese team and we have become like a big family, except we have never had any arguments and no one falls out with each other! I want to thank everybody personally for the last two years, sometimes it has been difficult, but nobody ever gave up and I felt like I always had their full support and commitment."

With Gresini currently riderless following the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli in Malaysia last month and Hiroshi Aoyama's switch to World Superbikes, Bautista is now expected to be announced at the satellite Honda squad in due course.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta appeared to confirm the move on Spanish radio station Cadena Ser: "I think Alvaro has been very good this year. It seems that this afternoon it has been confirmed that he will move to Gresini next year and if he does that he will be in front.

"This afternoon I've seen him very excited about racing with Gresini and [Fausto] Gresini himself was too, because while he is still hurting, he has fought to have Alvaro and he finally got him, and that's a boost."

Suzuki's position remains far from clear with a decision by the Japanese manufacturer over its future plans having been demanded from Dorna by the end of the week. But in spite of continuing speculation, Ezpeleta insisted that he was not worried that Suzuki was about to quit the sport.

"No, not at all," he said. "If they are going to continue in their current state, I don't care. I've always said that the championship has to be supported by people who are committed.

"It seems they want to continue racing with the 800cc, something that is perfectly possible given the regulations, because it's less than 1000cc and four cylinders, but the idea is that by the middle of the season they have a 1000cc bike ready to do some races with it next year and a full season with it in 2013."


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