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Alvaro Bautista retains Gresini Honda MotoGP seat for 2013

Alvaro BautistaAlvaro Bautista will stay with Gresini Honda in MotoGP for a second season.

The ex-Suzuki rider has had a low-key first year at Gresini, which was a consistent frontrunner with the late Marco Simoncelli in 2012.

Bautista's highlights have been pole at Silverstone and third place at Misano. He is currently seventh in the championship.

Team boss Fausto Gresini reckons that the 27-year-old will benefit from continuity and flourish in 2013.

"I believe in long-term projects and I think that Alvaro still has plenty of potential," said Gresini.

"I am convinced that he will provide us with much further excitement with some great results.

"I think that for him we are like family and this feeling can take us very far."

Bautista said that despite his 2012 frustrations, he had always felt comfortable at Gresini.

"From day one I knew that being part of this team would feel like being home," he said.

"It is a great team and I am happy to continue with them.

"Even when we have had difficulties this year, we have worked so hard together and I get on so well with everyone here."

The Bautista/Gresini deal completes the 12-bike MotoGP prototype field for 2013.

The main changes are Casey Stoner's shock retirement, with Moto2 title favourite Marc Marquez stepping into his Honda role, and Valentino Rossi's return to Yamaha alongside Jorge Lorenzo.

Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso takes the Ducati vacancy left by Rossi, while Ben Spies - ousted from Yamaha by Rossi - heads for Ducati's new second team.

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