Motorcycle Racing News Ducati Withdraws from World Superbike

Ducati Withdraws from World Superbike

World SBK News

After all the recent excitement for Ducati fans regarding the Valentino Rossi / Ducati Team marriage in MotoGP, a bombshell was dropped on Friday regarding the World Superbike Championship.

For the 2011, Ducati will not participate with a factory team in the FIM World SBK season; the current riders on the factory team are Noriyuki Haga and Michele Fabrizio.

But the Borgo Panigale manufacturer will continue to work in collaboration with the championship organizers, other manufacturers and the FIM to define a technical regulation aimed at containing costs.

Ducati has also decided to limit its participation in the supply of machines and support to private teams. The motorcycle manufacture says the decision is part of a "specific strategy" that aims to further "increase technological content in production models that will arrive on the market in the coming years."

Gabriele Del Torchio (President and CEO of Ducati) says: "In order to achieve this objective, the company’s technical resources, until now engaged with the management of the factory Superbike team, will instead be dedicated to the development of the new generation of hypersport bikes, in both their homologated and Superbike race versions."

"I would like to thank Nori and Michel, and all of the riders that have contributed to the great history of Ducati in Superbike, but above all the Ducati employees; it is their hard work and professionalism that has allowed us to achieve such important results."

"A big thank you also to all of the partners that have supported us, first and foremost Xerox of course. I would also like to acknowledge the Flammini brothers who have managed the championship for so long, and the FIM, the organization with which we have continuous, constructive relations."

Infront Motorsports, the organization that runs the World Superbike series, expressed disappointment at Ducati’s decision.

Paolo Flammini (CEO of Infront Motor Sports): "We are disappointed and also a bit surprised at Ducati’s decision, especially since we have been asked numerous times for a change in the regulations to bring about a better balancing of twin-cylinder 1200cc machines towards the four-cylinder 1000cc bikes, but it must be mentioned that last year, without the presence of a phenomenal Ben Spies, the Ducati 1198 would have dominated the championship with Haga and Fabrizio, and it is therefore difficult for us today to comprehend this decision, which of course we must respect."

"Moreover the FIM Superbike World Championship can today boast the participation of six manufacturers in addition to Ducati, with Aprilia, BMW, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha and is therefore obliged to maintain a total balance in the regulations, without privileging one or other manufacturer in particular."

"We are however pleased that Ducati has confirmed its technical support for private teams that will be competing with its models in the 2011 championship and that the development of its new generation of hypersport bikes, in both homologated and Superbike race versions, will continue."

Since the World SBK Championpship began in 1988, Ducati has brought home 16 manufacturer’s world titles and 13 riders’ world titles.

From Ducati

By making this important decision Ducati aims to increase the speed and efficiency with which it transfers advanced technological solutions, currently tested in the prototype championship, to the production series.

The task of testing innovative technical solutions in Superbike racing will therefore be entrusted to external teams in the coming years, teams that will have the chance to receive technical support from Ducati personnel. This choice will allow the teams to benefit from even more competitive machines and parts.

Despite the decision to interrupt its official participation in the World Superbike Championship, Ducati will continue to work, in collaboration with the championship organizers, other manufacturers and the FIM, to define a technical regulation aimed at containing costs.

Strong in the sporting spirit that has always allowed this manufacturer to compete, line-up against its rivals, and win, it is fundamental for Ducati to identify, together with the other interested parties, solutions that can guarantee the future of the championship in the medium-long term.

Recently the Superbike World Championship, according to the current regulations, has been interpreted as moving more towards competition between prototypes rather than for bikes derived from production machines. This has led to an increase in costs, both for the manufacturers and the teams participating in the championship.

This picture does not correlate with the current worldwide economic situation, which has made the securing of sponsorship even more difficult. Ducati trusts that the work carried out by all parties will lead to improvement also in this area.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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