WorldSBK: Alvaro Bautista makes decision on whether to run #19 or #1 ahead of title defense | World Superbikes

Following a similar path to MotoGP world champion Francesco Bagnaia, Bautista will either swap from his traditional #19 or use the #1 which has been a constant presence between champions of late.

Unlike MotoGP where the last rider to use the #1 as a defending champion was Casey Stoner, WorldSBK champions have often donned the #1, with Carlos Checa the last rider not to do so over ten years ago.

Tom Sykes, Sylvain Guintoli, Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu all changed to the #1 after winning their maiden titles.

“I think I made the decision,” said Bautista on his social media. “But if you want to see what number I put on this bike, pay close attention. Monday at 10.30, Spain and Italy time, you will all see it. I’ve already made my decision but I hope you like it.”

Like the Spaniard, Bagnaia is also yet to publicly announce what number he will choose, although the Italian is yet to make a decision unlike Bautista.

If Bagnaia goes ahead with the #1 then it will be the first time since 2012 that it has been used in MotoGP, after Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo all chose not to run the number.

Bautista and Michael Ruben Rinaldi will officially be unveiling their brand new 2023 Panigale V4 R on Monday, January 23, alongside the Lenovo Ducati MotoGP Team.

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Both Bautista and Rinaldi will then be on-track for the first time this year as they take part in a two-day test at Jerez on January 25-26.

Also making their first appearances on the new Panigale V4 R will be all three satellite Ducati riders Axel Bassani, Danilo Petrucci and Phillip Oettl.

Ducati are the only manufacturer to have their 2023 bike launch confirmed as of now, although more announcements are expected soon.