Alvaro Bautista will remain with the Aspar Ducati MotoGP Team for the 2018 season, ending speculation of a return to Aprilia.

The Spaniard first rode with the Jorge Martinez-run Aspar team in his 125cc days, taking the introductory class crown with the outfit in 2006, and remained through his 250cc career before stepping up to MotoGP in 2010 with Suzuki.

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After five years with the Gresini team in the premier class, first on a satellite Honda and then with Aprilia, Bautista returned to Aspar for this season.

Immediately adapting to the 2016 Desmosedici, Bautista has tallied up four top 10 finishes and sits 11th in the standings on 44 points.

“I am happy to be spending another season as part of the Pull&Bear Aspar Team family,” said Bautista.

“It is a union that can help both the team and myself to grow.

“We are having a strong season, I have a good relationship with the team and I feel very comfortable on the Ducati and with the support from the factory.

“I think we can continue to improve and achieve good results.”

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Team boss Martinez believes the retention of Bautista, on top of strong support from Ducati, will allow his team to achieve consistently strong results going forward.

“It is good news for the Pull&Bear Aspar Team that we have reached this agreement with Álvaro Bautista: we believe in him and we are enjoying a very strong season,” he said.

“We also have a lot of faith in Ducati, we get great support from the factory and through extending this relationship, together we can improve even more.

“I hope this year still holds many more high points like the ones we have enjoyed already, and that next season holds even more still.”

Bautista had been one of the names linked to the under pressure Sam Lowes’ seat at Aprilia for next season, though the Spaniard made it clear prior to the summer break that his priority was to secure a new deal with Aspar.

Aspar recently extended its contract with Ducati through to next year, though the team are still to decided if it will field two GP17s or one GP17 and one GP16.