Earlier on Wednesday morning, Rizla Suzuki reported that the team had departed with Alvaro Bautista, the man who competed as the sole-Suzuki rider for the 2010 and 2011 MotoGP seasons.
The speculation began on where Bautista would end up, and by late Wednesday morning, it was announced – Alvaro Bautista will be joining the San Carlo Honda Gresini team for 2012 MotoGP.
The 26-year-old Spaniard will now compete on a Honda RC213V (1000cc) likely as the sole rider.
Fausto Gresini (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team Owner) says: “I’m particularly satisfied that Alvaro Bautista will ride a Honda RC213V in the colors of Team San Carlo Honda Gresini next year. He is a very fast rider and I also hold him in high regard for his personality and pleasant nature.
“I am sure that he will integrate swiftly into our group and that we will enjoy some pleasant experiences together in the future.”
Bautista immediately started getting accustomed to the Honda, testing the 2011 RC212V Wednesday during the final day of post-season MotoGP testing at Valencia. During the test, Bautista completed 55 laps around Valencia; his best time was a 1:33.814, which was 10th fastest overall (Tuesday, Wednesday).
Bautista, the 2006 125cc MotoGP Champion, joined the MotoGP class in 2010 with Suzuki. During the last two years, Bautista finished 13th overall. His best finish in 2011 MotoGP was fifth at Silverstone, and in 2010 a pair of fifths – Malaysia and Catalunya.
The San Carlo Honda Gresini team was struck by tragedy at Sepang when it’s pilot, sophomore MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, perished in a lap-two crash. The other 2011 San Carlo Gresini rider, Hiroshi Aoyama, joined World Superbike for 2012; the Japanese rider will compete with Jonathan Rea on the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR.