It had been known unofficially for weeks, but today, the Aruba.it Ducati team announced that they have signed Scott Redding to ride for them in WorldSBK for the 2020 season. Redding has had a very strong season in BSB since losing his ride in MotoGP with Aprilia, and is currently second in the standings behind Be Wiser Ducati teammate Josh Brookes.
It comes as no surprise that Redding is off to WorldSBK. The Englishman had expressed an interest in returning to world championship racing, having first been linked with the Shaun Muir Racing BMW effort. That option faltered over contractual difficulties getting Redding out of the second year of his BSB deal, but a switch to a Ducati team was easier to negotiate.
Redding's signing was made possible by the fact that Alvaro Bautista and Ducati had failed to come to an agreement over money. Talks had initially gone in Bautista's favor at the start of the season, when he won the first 8 races and 3 Superpole races in a row. But his spectacular decline since Imola, winning only one race since then and turning a 61-point lead into an 81-point deficit, severely weakened his hand.
Where Bautista ends up now is still uncertain. Reliable reports have the Spaniard under contract to HRC to race for the factory Honda team in WorldSBK. But there are doubts that this will happen: HRC is believed to be considering pulling out of WorldSBK and letting the Moriwaki Althea team run the show.
That leaves Bautista with an intriguing option. If the Spaniard does not get a job in WorldSBK, KTM may consider him as a replacement for Johann Zarco in the factory Red Bull KTM team in MotoGP. Given Bautista's experience with multiple manufacturers - he has ridden a Suzuki, a Honda, a Ducati, and an Aprilia in MotoGP - his input could be invaluable in helping to develop the bike.
Below is the official press release from Ducati on the signing of Redding:
Confirmed line-up for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team for 2020: Scott Redding to join up with Chaz Davies on the factory Panigale V4 R in the Superbike World Championship
Scott Redding is all set to partner Chaz Davies in the 2020 Superbike World Championship on the factory Ducati Panigale V4 R of the Italian team.
The 26-year-old British rider from Quedgeley (Gloucestershire), who this year is taking part in the BSB (British Superbike Championship), where so far this season he has taken six wins and five pole positions and is in second place in the overall standings with the Be Wiser Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R, will be making his debut in the production-based championship in 2020 after a five-year presence in MotoGP and one year in BSB.
Scott Redding will join up with the already confirmed Chaz Davies, who next year will be embarking on his seventh successive season on a Ducati, thus forming a very strong all-British rider formation.
Scott Redding: “I’m so happy to join the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team, which is something that I’ve wanted for a long time, because to be able to work with a team that can fight for a world title is really a great opportunity for me. Obviously now I have to remain fully focussed on the British Superbike Championship, because I want to try and win that title with the Be Wiser Ducati before stepping back up to a world championship again. A big thanks to all those people who have helped to make this dream happen, and now I can’t wait to get on the factory Panigale V4 R bike in the World Superbike Championship.”
Stefano Cecconi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team Principal): “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Scott into our team. Despite being a rookie in BSB, on his first experience with the Panigale V4 R and with numerous tracks he has never seen before, Scott has proved to be fast right out of the box and to be able to aim straight for the title. For this reason, we have been following him with interest and we were impressed with his form even before having to look for a team-mate for Chaz in the coming seasons. With his determination and experience, I’m convinced he will be quick right from the start, even on a WSBK-spec bike. I wish to fondly bid goodbye to Álvaro and thank him for the incredible emotions that he has given us this year, he will surely be a difficult adversary to beat! Now however we must focus on the current season: we no longer have an advantage, but the world title battle is still open and we will give our maximum commitment to conclude our collaboration in the best possible way.”
Álvaro Bautista’s adventure with the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team thus comes to an end on the 26th October at the Losail circuit in Qatar. With four rounds still to be held (Portugal, France, Argentina and Qatar), the 34-year-old Spanish rider, who made his Superbike debut this year with the all-new Panigale V4 R, currently lies second in the championship with 352 points and has so far won 14 races, taking the Bologna bike to victory in its and his debut race at Phillip Island and then adding the next ten races to his victory tally.
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will, as always, make the greatest effort to score the best possible results together with Álvaro right until the end of the season, and thanks him for his great commitment, all the while wishing him all the best for his racing future.