Alvaro Bautista keeps Gresini Honda ride

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Alvaro Bautista has signed a new contract with the San Carlo Gresini Honda squad for the 2013 MotoGP world championship campaign.

The Gresini ride was the last prototype berth up for grabs in 2013, but Bautista’s place was virtually secured when he claimed a career first premier class podium in last month’s Misano race.

It was an emotional podium success for the Gresini squad coming at the track renamed after its late star rider Marco Simoncelli, who was tragically killed in a crash at Sepang almost one year ago.

It was only a few weeks ago that Bautista’s RC213V ride was slipping from his grasp as team boss Fausto Gresini negotiated with American Ben Spies.

Rumours then emerged that British teenager Scott Redding was also a candidate while Honda had thrown its support behind Jonathan Rea, who recently deputised for injured Aussie Casey Stoner in Misano and Aragon.

Bautista has signed a one-year deal and the former 125GP world champion has already been closely linked with a return to Suzuki’s factory squad in 2014 should the Japanese factory honour its pledge to enter a new 1000cc machine.

Bautista said: “I am very happy to continue with Gresini Racing, because from day one I knew that being part of this team would feel like being home. It is a great team and I am happy to continue with them.

“Even when we have had difficulties this year, we have worked so hard together and I get on so well with everyone here.

“We will get to know one another even better next year and we can be even more competitive. I thank the team for the faith that they have shown in me and I hope that we can improve our results for the end of the current season.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt