Bautista set to replace Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo for next MotoGP race

Angel Nieto Ducati's Alvaro Bautista has emerged as the main candidate to replace Jorge Lorenzo at Phillip Island next weekend as the three-time MotoGP champion may well miss another race

Bautista set to replace Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo for next MotoGP race

Lorenzo has pulled out of a second consecutive race at Motegi and, with the Phillip Island race just a week away, the Ducati rider reckons it is "almost impossible" to recover in time.

He attempted to ride before deciding to withdraw at Buriram and Motegi, leaving Ducati with only Andrea Dovizioso as the sole factory entrant on both occasions.

But Autosport understands that Ducati wants to field two riders at Phillip Island as it tries to beat Repsol Honda, which leads the Italian manufacturer by 34 points in the teams' championship.

As Ducati test rider Michele Pirro will be at the Ricardo Tormo circuit testing the 2019 Desmosedici bike during the Australian Grand Prix weekend, Bautista has become the favourite to take Lorenzo's place.

"It's a pity that Jorge is in this situation and I hope he recovers soon," said Bautista.

"Honestly, I am available so if they want me to get on the [factory] bike it would be a pleasure.

"But the truth is that I do not know anything about this possibility."

Bautista, who is set to switch to World Superbikes after nine years in MotoGP, has raced with a Ducati since 2017, ending up 12th last year and is sitting 13th this season.

Should Bautista switch to the factory team, his current outfit Angel Nieto would need to find a replacement rider for Phillip Island.

Lorenzo is waiting for the results of an MRI scan he had on Friday, but believes he will have to focus on riding in Malaysia.

"It is almost impossible for Phillip Island. It's impossible for my wrist to recover in the few days left until then," Lorenzo said on MotoGP.com.

"We have to talk to the team to see if they choose a replacement for that race, and see if I'm in a position to try to get back on the bike.

"But I'll probably focus on trying to get back on the bike in Malaysia."

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