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Iannone favourite to join Go Eleven Ducati team in 2024

Former MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone has emerged as the favourite to join the Go Eleven Ducati team for the 2024 World Superbike season.

Andrea Iannone, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Iannone has made no secret of his desire to return to international racing upon the expiration of his four-year doping ban, and has made multiple visits to the WSBK paddock this season.

The Italian, who turns 34 next week, has been in discussions with his former employer Ducati about landing a ride on one of its satellite V4 Rs next season.

Go Eleven now appears to be the most likely destination for Iannone pending an offer of factory support from Ducati.

Team boss Denis Sacchetti told Motorsport.com's German edition last weekend in Most that signing Iannone would be a "great opportunity" for his squad, particularly from a PR standpoint.

Go Eleven has been running a single V4 R for German rider Philipp Oettl since last season, but not in factory specification.

 

The team is hoping to replicate the arrangement it had with Ducati in 2021, when it ran Chaz Davies on a bike similar in spec to those of the factory team following the British rider's exit from the works team.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who looks set to lose his place in the main Ducati team next year to Nicolo Bulega, had also been linked to a return to Go Eleven, where he previously raced in 2020.

However, Rinaldi now looks like a contender to join the works Honda team next season, helped by the backing of long-time sponsor Aruba.it.

Honda had been hoping to retain its existing pairing of Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge for a third season, but it looks increasingly likely that Lecuona will return to MotoGP with the marque in 2024.

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Oettl bemused by Iannone hype

Meanwhile, Oettl's hopes of staying on a satellite Ducati next year appear to rest on Go Eleven expanding to two bikes.

Oettl is out of contract at the end of the season and sits 15th in the riders standings, fifth and last of the Ducati riders on the grid.

He told Motorsport.com's German edition he couldn't understand why Iannone was being considered for a WSBK ride having been out of action since being handed his doping ban in 2019.

"I don't know how fast Iannone will be after a four-year break," said Oettl. "It's a big risk. On the other hand, it could be good for the championship because he has a certain charisma.

"But offering a millionaire a paid ride and I can't ride as a result, that's another thing. He is a doping offender. I don't know if that's the right signal to send to the outside world.

 

"Maybe he can convince people to watch WSBK because of who he is, but I don't want to be that kind of person."

Oettl's options to stay on the grid outside Ducati appear to be limited. "The Ducati is a good bike, so it's no surprise so many riders are keen to ride it," he added. "But it's difficult to find a place elsewhere.

"With Kawasaki, the support is very bad. They pretty much allow the satellite teams to starve. With Honda, there's basically only the factory team. Yamaha has its own rider programme. BMW has five riders for four places.

"Probably there is no need for a German rider in World Superbike. There's not enough interest, But I think I have done a good job.

"Without the engine failure at Donington, I would have finished in the top 10 for five races in a row. I also beat [Dominique] Aegerter several times, and I'm sure people rate him higher than me."

 

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