By

Category: Dailies

Ducati-Quits-SBK.jpg

Ducati is quitting the racing series it helped popularize and that came to define its corporate success. This morning, Ducati announced it would no longer field a factory team in SBK, instead concentrating on MotoGP. Reading between the lines, it's easy to jump to the much-rumored conclusion that the money Ducati had been putting towards seeing its 1198 lose to the Aprilia RSV4 will now go towards Valentino Rossi's retirement fund. The move also marks a radical change for the company's marketing strategy, purchasing a Ducati superbike will no longer be a case of purchasing a race-winning motorcycle, but instead one that'll allegedly include trickle down technology from MotoGP. Does this mean future Ducati flagships will look more like the Desmosedici than they will a living, breathing set of SBK homologation rules? What does that mean for v-twins?

Update: SBK has issued an official statement, essentially calling out Ducati for lying about its reason for quitting the series, it's below.

Ducati's official statement:

Borgo Panigale (Bologna - Italy), 27 August 2010 -   Ducati, having participated with a factory team in every edition of the World Superbike Championship since it began in 1988, winning 16 Manufacturers' world titles and 13 Riders' world titles along the way, has decided to limit its participation to the supply of machines and support to private teams.

"This decision is part of a specific strategy made by Ducati, the aim being to further increase technological content in production models that will arrive on the market in the coming years. 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," declared  Gabriele Del Torchio, President and CEO of Ducati. "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."

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.

The SBK statement:

Infront Motor Sports has learnt with disappointment of Ducati's decision not to participate with a factory team in the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship.

The Borgo Panigale manufacturer has built a large part of its history and reputation on the back of its wins in the world championship for production-based bikes, in which it has taken part since the very start and in which it has obtained 16 Manufacturers' and 13 Riders' titles with its strictly twin-cylinder production models. As recently as last year Ducati was fighting for the championship title right down to the final round of the season at Portimao, proving the outright competitiveness of its flagship model, the 1198, and demonstrating the extremely well-balanced nature of the current technical regulations.

"We are disappointed and also a bit surprised at Ducati's decision," declared Paolo Flammini, CEO of Infront Motor Sports, "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."

comments powered by Disqus