WSB: 2023 Ducati livery unveiled as Alvaro Bautista chooses the number one plate

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Alvaro Bautista’s Aruba.It Racing Ducati V4 R will have the number one plate on it in the World Superbike Championship this season.

The decision was confirmed during the team’s official 2023 presentation, held alongside the factory Lenovo Ducati MotoGP team in the ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio, Italy. Like Bautista, Pecco Bagnaia has also switched to the number one following his 2022 title-winning campaign.

It’s the first time that a Ducati champion has switched to the number one in 18 years; James Toseland was the last rider to do so in 2005.

Alvaro Bautista's Number One Ducati Superbike

Baring a few tweaks here and there, the WSB livery remains largely unchanged, and the team will field the same riders as last year: Bautista and Michael Ruben Rinaldi.  

Bautista dominated last year, taking 16 victories and 29 podiums to end the year with a comfortable 72-point lead over 2021 champion Toprak Razgatlioglu.

“We have a new challenge ahead of us,” Bautista said. “After a fantastic season in which we won with Ducati in both Superbike and MotoGP, 2023 will inevitably be a difficult year. Racing with the number 1, in fact, means that our objective can only be one: to win.

“We’ll have a lot of pressure but at the same time we’ll have to keep calm, try to work with high concentration but also with serenity. We’ll have a new bike and even if it won’t be extremely different from the 2022 one, the work that we’ll be able to do before the first race is crucial: we have to fix all the details that will allow us to get the best performance.

“I’d also like to address a thought to all the Ducatistas: I’m very proud of all our fans who followed us last season, and I hope that with the result we’ve achieved, in 2023 there will be even more of them supporting us at circuits all over the world. I am a Ducatista and I feel lucky to be able to defend the colours of the Racing – Ducati team.”

Michael Ruben Rinaldi next to his 2023 Ducati V4 R

Meanwhile, Rinaldi was ‘best of the rest’ behind the leading trio in 2022. The Italian secured four podiums and 17 top five results to ensure he got the better of Andrea Locatelli, Alex Lowes and fellow Ducati rider Axel Bassani.

Entering his third season as a factory Ducati rider, Rinaldi is targeting victories once again and hopes to close the gap to Bautista, Razgatlioglu and Rea.

“I start this new adventure with great enthusiasm,” Rinaldi said.  “Together with my team we have always made progress in the last two years, managing to improve our results. As a team we won the three titles last season, and this means that the package is very strong.

Close up of the Ducati 2023 WSB livery

“During the winter, we have analysed the points we have to focus on, in order to improve and to be competitive for the title race. I have worked a lot over the last few weeks, and I will continue to do so with great dedication as I want to always be able to express my maximum potential. There will be a lot of new things, also on the bike, so I can’t wait to get started.

“I want to thank Aruba and Ducati for the opportunity to ride this beautiful Panigale V4 R and be part of such an ambitious team.”

Both Bautista and Rinaldi will travel to Jerez on Tuesday (January 24) for a two-day test which gets underway on January 25. This is followed by a two-day test at Portimao on January 31 – February 1.

The 2023 season gets underway at Phillip Island on February 24-26.