Subscriber Interview: Ernesto Marinelli On Ducati, Bayliss, Davies, Bostrom, Gobert, Kocinski

Ernesto Marinelli has been an almost ever present force within Ducati's World Superbike program for over two decades. Last month the Italian announced that he would leave his role as Superbike Project Leader but having enjoyed a hugely successful 22 years with the Italian manufacturer he will leave with a heavy heart.

Having joined Ducati fresh out of university as an engine technician, Marinelli was keen to prove his worth. He did this with an innovative approach to engine simulations while working as an undergraduate and quickly found his way into the Race Department, Ducati Corse. It is with a heavy heart that he finally decided to move away from Ducati and onto a new chapter in his career.

“Ducati is an extraordinary company,” reflected the Italian. “Even after 22 years I still love my job but it is a stressful life. Between testing and racing there really is no break. You do it because you have a passion and it’s not a normal job. It was actually quite hard when we announced it because of all the messages from people that worked for me. I was very pleased to see that you leave to everyone a good memory.

“There comes a point in your life that you need to balance yourself a bit better. I think it was about time to balance my life a bit better. There was a new opportunity coming that actually would bring new experience on my profile. It was a difficult decision and I was putting all the plus and minus in a table like any engineer does! At this point of my life it was a bit more the plus than the minus to make the change. It was a very hard though and it was a stressful decision because I love what I’m doing. I love the people that I work with. I love the company that I work for.”

Variety is the spice of life

Marinelli has also loved the variety of work that he has done for the team. Having started as a calibrator, moving to the US to work in AMA as a technician, returning to Europe to win titles with Neil Hodgson and Troy Bayliss as their crew chiefs, before finally becoming the project leader for the Ducati Superbike program, it was a rapid rise and a memorable ride.

“The racing environment is a drug. We were all born with a little fuel in our blood. In racing it is an extreme situation and you have to deal with everything in a very quick way. It is exciting and it keeps your adrenaline up. It is also something that demands a lot of your life. At some point you also have to realize that there is the needs to be that balance. I have done it for a long time and it has been amazing but you have move on and try to challenge yourself on a new adventure.

“Ducati has been growing as a company in recent years and of course the structure of the company becomes more complicated as it grows. You need to do more things. You have a lot more people to manage. We are now we are back up to speed in all classes and that proves that the job is being done right.

This is part of a semi-regular series of insights into the world of motorcycle racing, exclusive for site supporters. The series includes background information, in-depth analysis, and opinion pieces. Though the majority of content on remains free to read, a select amount of the more interesting content will be made available solely to those who have supported the website financially by taking out a subscription.

The aim is to provide additional value for our growing band of site supporters, providing extra original and exclusive content. If you would like to read more of our exclusive content and help to grow and improve, you can join the growing band of site supporters, by taking out a subscription here.

Tweet Button: 

Back to top


Off to work for Termignoni exhaust. Less stress, more time off. Still enjoying motorbikes and what he does best.

Love these quotes re the riders. Thanks Steve. Good luck Ernesto!

I spend one year working under his leadership and i didn't like a lot the atmosphere at that time at Ducati Corse, so we went seperate ways. But i had and still have a big respect for Ernesto. Always open to talk to you and gave his feedback. The hours Ernesto put into his job where unbelievable, just as his technical level. Respect.