MotoGP: Mike Jones to replace Bautista in Ducati reshuffle

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Local favourite Mike Jones will replace Alvaro Bautista at the Angel Nieto Ducati team for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, stepping into the shoes of Alvaro Bautista as he’s shuffled up to the factory team in place of the injured Jorge Lorenzo. Last riding a MotoGP machine two years ago at Phillip Island, Jones surprised by scoring a point on only his second outing on the Avintia machine back then.

The Aussie says he’s looking forward to a third chance to prove himself, this time on a much-improved GP17 machine, after initially filling in for Hector Barbera as he in turn stepped up to the factory team to replace an injured Andrea Iannone.

“I’m very excited and grateful to race with the Angel Nieto Team at my home race of the MotoGP. Phillip Island is a circuit that I know well and enjoy very much. I look forward to learning step by step throughout the weekend and ultimately riding to the best of my ability.”

But while Jones is pleased with his ride, WSB-bound Bautista is delighted with the chance to step up. Top Ducati finisher last time out at Motegi in an impressive fifth, he’s confident that he’ll be able to ride without pressure on the factory bike.

“To race with the official Ducati team for me is a dream come true. I want to thank Jorge Martinez Aspar, the Angel Nieto team and Ducati for giving me this chance in the Australian GP, and I’m really thrilled about it. The weekend will only be to learn and enjoy myself, without any pressure and without aiming for any particular results. That’s OK: next year I won’t be in this championship because I’ll be racing in Superbike with Ducati, so this race is a sort of prize for me.”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer